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Large  8vo,  half  red-morocco  gilt. 

Dictionary  of  Slang  and  Colloquial  English.  By  J.  S. 
FARMER  and  the  late  W.  E.  HENLEY.  Abridged  from 
the  seven-volume  work.  542  pp. 

Passing  English  of  the  Victorian  Era.  By  J.  BEDDING 
WARE.  (Forming  a  Supplement  to  the  above.) 

Dictionary  of  Archaic  and  Provincial  Words,  Obsolete 
Phrases,  &c.  By  J.  0.  HALLIWELL.  998  pp. 

Glossary  of  Words,  Phrases,  Names  and  Illusions.  By 
Archdeacon  NARES.  Edited  by  J.  0.  HALLIWBLL  and 
T.  WRIGHT.  992  pp. 

English  Quotations.    By  ROBINSON  SMITH. 

The  Eosicrucians.  By  HARGRAVE  JENNINGS.  With  300 
illustrations  and  12  plates. 

Shakespeare  Word-book.    By  JOHN  FOBTBR,  M.A. 

Prof.  E.  DOWDEN,  writes  : — 

'  One  of  the  special  distinctions  of  the  book  lies  in  its  tracings 
of  the  ramifications  of  meaning,  and  I  think  there  is  a  delight- 
ful training  of  the  mind  in  following  its  guidance  here.  But, 
apart  from  this,  as  a  mere  swift  aid  in  getting  past  difficulties 
in  reading  Shakespeare,  it  will  be  most  useful,  and  all  the  more 
useful  because  of  its  condensation. ' 








As  forests  shed  their  foliage  by  degrees, 

So  fade  expressions  which  in  season  please. — BYRON. 


NEW  YORK  :   E.   P.  DUTTON   &  CO. 



This  Work  forms  a  Companion  Volume  to 





HERE  is  a  numerically  weak  collection  of  instances  of  'Passing 
English '.  It  may  be  hoped  that  there  are  errors  on  every  page, 
and  also  that  no  entry  is  '  quite  too  dull '.  Thousands  of  words 
and  phrases  in  existence  in  1870  have  drifted  away,  or  changed 
their  forms,  or  been  absorbed,  while  as  many  have  been  added 
or  are  being  added.  'Passing  English'  ripples  from  countless 
sources,  forming  a  river  of  new  language  which  has  its  tide  and 
its  ebb,  while  its  current  brings  down  new  ideas  and  carries  away 
those  that  have  dribbled  out  of  fashion.  Not  only  is  'Passing 
English '  general ;  it  is  local ;  often  very  seasonably  local. 
Careless  etymologists  might  hold  that  there  are  only  four  divisions 
of  fugitive  language  in  London — west,  east,  north  and  south.  But 
the  variations  are  countless.  Holborn  knows  little  of  Petty  Italia 
behind  Hatton  Garden,  and  both  these  ignore  Clerkenwell,  which  is 
equally  foreign  to  Islington  proper;  in  the  South,  Lambeth 
generally  ignores  the  New  Cut,  and  both  look  upon  Southwark 
as  linguistically  out  of  bounds;  while  in  Central  London,  Clare 
Market  (disappearing  with  the  nineteenth  century)  had,  if  it  no 
longer  has,  a  distinct  fashion  in  words  from  its  great  and  partially 
surviving  rival  through  the  centuries — the  world  of  Seven  Dials, 
which  is  in  St  Giles's — St  James's  being  practically  in  the  next 
parish.  In  the  East  the  confusion  of  languages  is  a  world  of 
'  variants ' — there  must  be  half-a-dozen  of  Anglo-Yiddish  alone — 
all,  however,  outgrown  from  the  Hebrew  stem.  '  Passing  English ' 
belongs  to  all  the  classes,  from  the  peerage  class  who  have  always 
adopted  an  imperfection  in  speech  or  frequency  of  phrase  associated 
with  the  court,  to  the  court  of  the  lowest  costermonger,  who  gives 
the  fashion  to  his  immediate  entourage.  Much  passing  English 
becomes  obscure  almost  immediately  upon  its  appearance — such 
as  '  Whoa,  Emma  ! '  or  '  How's  your  poor  feet  ? '  the  first  from  an 
inquest  in  a  back  street,  the  second  from  a  question  by  Lord 
Palmerston  addressed  to  the  then  Prince  of  Wales  upon  the 


return  of  the  latter  from  India.  '  Everything  is  nice  in  my 
garden'  came  from  Osborne.  'O.K.'  for  'orl  kerrect'  (All 
Correct)  was  started  by  Vance,  a  comic  singer,  while  in  the 
East  district,  'to  Wainwright'  a  woman  (i.e.  to  kill  her)  comes 
from  the  name  of  a  murderer  of  that  name.  So  boys  in  these 
later  days  have  substituted  'He's  a  reglar  Charlie'  for  'He's 
a  reglar  Jack'  meaning  Jack  Sheppard,  while  Charley  is  a 
loving  diminutive  of  Charles  Peace,  a  champion  scoundrel  of  our 
generation.  The  Police  Courts  yield  daily  phrases  to  'Passing 
English ',  while  the  life  of  the  day  sets  its  mark  upon  every  hour. 
Between  the  autumn  of  1899,  and  the  middle  of  1900,  a  Chadband 
became  a  Kruger,  while  a  plucky,  cheerful  man  was  described 
as  a  'B.P.'  (Baden  Powell).  Li  Hung  Chang  remained  in  London 
not  a  week,  but  he  was  called  'Lion  Chang'  before  he  had  gone 
twice  to  bed  in  the  Metropolis.  Indeed,  proper  names  are  a 
great  source  of  trouble  in  analysing  Passing  English.  'Dead 
as  a  door  nail'  is  probably — as  O'Donnel.  The  phrase  comes 
from  Ireland,  where  another  fragment — Til  smash  you  into 
Smithereens' — means  into  Smither's  ruins — though  no  one  seems 
to  know  who  Smithers  was.  Again,  a  famous  etymologist  has 
assumed  'Right  as  a  trivet'  to  refer  to  a  kitchen-stove,  whereas 
the  'trivet'  is  the  last  century  pronunciation  of  Truefit,  the 
supreme  Bond  Street  wig-maker,  whose  wigs  were  perfect — hence 
the  phrase.  Proper  names  are  truly  pitfalls  in  the  study  of 
colloquial  language.  What  is  a  '  Bath  Oliver,'  a  biscuit  invented 
by  a  Dr  Oliver  of  Bath ;  again  there  is  the  bun  named  after 
Sally  Lunn,  while  the  Scarborough  Simnel  is  a  cake  accidentally 
discovered  by  baking  two  varying  superposed  cakes  in  one  tin. 
In  Scarborough,  some  natives  now  say  the  cake  comes  down 
from  the  pretender  Simnel,  who  became  cook  or  scullion  to 
Henry  VII.  Turning  in  another  direction,  it  may  be  suggested 
that  most  exclamations  are  survivals  of  Catholicism  in  England, 
such  as  'Ad's  Bud'— 'God's  Bud'  (Christ);  'Cot's  So'— 'God's 
oath';  'S'elp  me  greens '— meaning  groans;  more  blue  (still 
heard  in  Devonshire)  —  morbleu  (probably  from  Bath  and  the 
Court  of  Charles  II.)— the  'blue  death '  or  the  'blue-blood  death  '— 
the  crucifixion.  '  Please  the  pigs '  is  evidently  pyx ;  while  the 
dramatic  'sdeath  is  clearly  'His  Death';  even  the  still  common 
'  Bloody  Hell  'is  'By  our  lady,  hail ',  the  lady  being  the  Virgin. 
There  are  hundreds  of  these  exclamations,  many  wholly  local. 



Amongst  authors  perhaps  no  writer  has  given  so  many  words  to 
the  language  as  Dickens  —  from  his  first  work,  '  Pickwick ',  to 
almost  his  last,  when  he  popularised  Dr  Bowdler;  anglicization 
is,  however,  the  chief  agent  in  obscuring  meanings,  as,  for  instance, 
gooseberry  fool  is  just  gooseberry  fouille,  moved  about — of  course 
through  the  sieve.  Antithesis  again  has  much  to  answer  for. 
'  Dude '  having  noted  itself,  '  fade '  was  discovered  as  its  opposite  ; 
'Mascotte'  a  luck-bringer  having  been  brought  to  England,  the 
clever  ones  very  soon  found  an  antithesis  in  Jonah,  who,  it 
will  be  recalled,  was  considered  an  unlucky  neighbour.  Be  it 
repeated — not  an  hour  passes  without  the  discovery  of  a  new 
word  or  phrase — as  the  hours  have  always  been — as  the  hours 
will  always  be.  Nor  is  it  too  ambitious  to  suggest  that  passing 
language  has  something  to  do  with  the  daily  history  of  the 
nation.  Be  this  all  as  it  may  be — here  is  a  phrase  book  offered 
to,  it  may  be  hoped,  many  readers,  the  chief  hope  of  the  author, 
in  relation  with  this  work,  being  that  he  may  be  found  amusing, 
if  neither  erudite  nor  useful.  Plaudite. 

J.  R.  W. 


ab.      . 

.     about 

Mid.   . 



.     abbreviation 





M.  P. 

Morning  Pott 

art.     . 


Mus.  Hall  . 

Music  Hall 

Austral.      . 

.     Australia 

N.       .         . 


Bk.     . 

.     Book 

Newsp.  Cutting  . 

Newspaper  cutting 

N.  Y. 

New  York 

Ca.      . 

.     Canto 

c.  Eng. 

.     common  English 

0.  Eng. 

Old  English 

cent.  . 

.     century 

on       ... 

onwards,  as  1890  on= 


.     compare 

1890  and  years  fol- 

ch.     . 

.     chapter 


C.  L.  . 

.     common  life 

0.  S.  . 

old  style 

com.  ,  comui. 


commerc.    . 

.     commercial 

P.  House    . 

Public  House 

corr.   . 

.     corruption 

Peo.    . 

The  People 

crit.    . 

.     criticism 



D.  C.  . 

Daily  Chronicle 

polit.  . 
Pub.  Sch.    . 

Public  School 

D.  els. 

.     Dangerous  Classes 

D.  M. 

.     Daily  Mail 

q.  v.    . 

which  see 

D.  N. 
D.  T. 

.     Daily  News 
.     Daily  Telegraph 

qq.v.  . 

which  (plural)  see 

E.       . 

Railway,  Koyal 

e.g.    . 

.    East 
.     for  example 

Ref.    .        .         . 


E.  N. 

.     Evening  News 



Eng.,  Engl. 

.     England,  English 

Sat.  Rev.     . 

Saturday  Review 

Hist.  . 

.     historical 

Soc.    . 


Span.,  Sp.  . 



.     that  is 

St.          ... 


/.  L.  N.     . 

.     Illustrated     London 

St.       . 



S.  Exch.      . 

Stock  Exchange 

Ind.    . 


Theat.,  Theatr.  . 


L.       . 

.     Low  Class 

Tr.      . 


L.  C.  and  D. 

.     London,     Chatham 


Univ.  . 


L.  C.  . 

.     Lower  Class 


United    States     of 

Lit.     . 

.     literary 


Lond.,  Lon. 




M.  Class     . 

.     Middle  Class 


.     Metropolitan 

W.      . 



A.  D. 

Academy  Headache 

A.  D.  (Ball-room  programme). 
Drink,  disguised,  thus : 


1.  Polka 

2.  Valse 

3.  Valse 

4.  Lanoers 

5.  Valse 

6.  Valse 

7.  Quadrille 

8.  Valse 

Etc.,  etc. 

Polly  J. 
A.  D. 
Miss  F. 
Polly  J. 
A.  D. 

Miss  M.  A.  T. 
Polly  J. 
A.  D. 

The  ingeniousness  of  this  arrangement 
is  that  young  ladies  see  'A.  D.',  and 
assume  the  youth  engaged. 

Abernethy  (Peoples'}.  A  biscuit,  so 
named  after  its  inventor,  Dr  Abernethy 
(see  Bath  Oliver). 

Abisselfa  (Suffolk).  Alone.  From 
'  A  by  itself,  A ' ;  an  old  English  way 
of  stating  the  alphabet. 

Abney  Park  (Hast  London).  About 
1860.  An  abbreviation  of  Abney  Park 
cemetery,  a  burial  ground  for  a  large 
proportion  of  those  who  die  in  the 
East  End  of  London.  Cemetery  is  a 
difficult  word  which  the  ignorant 
always  avoid.  Now  used  figuratively, 
e.g.,  'Poor  bloke,  he's  gone  to  Abney 
Park ' — meaning  that  he  is  dead. 

We  had  a  friendly  lead  in  our  court 
t'other  night.  Billy  Johnson's  kid 
snuffed  it,  and  so  all  the  coves  about 
got  up  a  '  friendly '  to  pay  for  the  funeral 
to  plant  it  decent  in  Abney. — Cutting. 

About  and  About  (Soc.,  1890  on). 
Mere  chatter,  the  conversation  of  fools 
who  talk  for  sheer  talking's  sake,  e.g., 
1  A  more  about  and  about  man  never 
suggested  or  prompted  sudden  murder.' 

In  an  age  of  windy  and  pretentious 
gabble — when  the  number  of  persons  who 

can,  and  will,  chatter  'about  and  about 
the  various  arts  is  in  quite  unprecedented 
disproportion  to  the  number  of  those  who 
are  content  to  study  these  various  arts 
in  patience,  and,  above  all,  in  silence — 
there  was  something  eminently  salutary 
in  Millais'  bluff  contempt  for  the  more 
presumptuous  theories  of  the  amateurs. 
— D.  T.,  14th  August  1896. 

Above  -  board  (Peoples'}.  Frank, 
open.  From  sailors'  lingo.  Not 
between  decks  or  in  the  hold,  but 
above  all  the  boards  in  the  ship. 

Abraham's  Willing  (Rhyming}. 
Shilling.  Generally  reduced  to  willing, 
e.g.,  '  Lend  us  a  willing.' 

He  don't  care  an  Abraham's  willing  for 
anybody. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Absolutely  True  (Soc.,  ab.  1880). 
Absolutely  false,  from  the  title  of  a 
book,  the  statements  in  which,  of  a 
ghostly  character,  were  difficult  of 

Abyssinian  Medal  (Military).  A 
button  gone  astray  from  its  button- 
hole, one  in  the  region  of  the  abdomen. 
Introduced  after  the  Abyssinian  "War. 
(See  Star  in  the  East.) 

Academy  (London).  A  billiard- 
room.  Imported  from  Paris,  1885. 

An  edict  has  been  promulgated  (Paris) 
forbidding  the  playing  of  games  of  chance 
on  public  thoroughfares  or  in  cafes  for 
money,  and  it  is  chiefly  directed  against 
the  billiard  rooms,  or  academies  as  they 
are  called  here.—  D.  T.,  26th  July  1894. 

Academy  Headache.  When  art 
became  fashionable  to  a  severe  degree 
this  malady  appeared ;  now  applied 
generically  to  headaches  acquired  at 
any  art  galleries. 

Art  critics  complain  of  'Academy  head- 
ache' and  of  the  fatigue  produced  by 

Academic  Nudity 

Advertisement  Conveyancers 

leagues  of  coloured  canvases. — D.  N., 
15th  April  1885. 

There  has  yet  to  arise  the  philosopher 
who  can  explain  to  us  the  precise  cause 
of  the  'Academy  headache'.  ...  It  is 
an  experience  familiar  to  many  who  '  do ' 
the  great  collection  at  Burlington  House. 
Most  persons  who  go  to  the  Academy 
know  the  malady  well. — D.  N.,  4th  June 

Academic  Nudity  ( Oxford).  Appear- 
ance in  public  without  cap  or  gown. 

After  a  tranquil  pipe  in  a  friend's  room 
we  set  out  again.  Shall  we  take  cap  and 
gown,  or  shall  we  venture  forth  in  a 
state  of  '  Academic  nudity '  ?  Perish 
the  slavish  thought !  We  go  without 
them. — Cutting. 

Accident.  A  child  born  out  of 

Accidented  (Lit.,  1884).  Liable  to 

An  operatic  season  thus  accidented 
can  hardly  prove  prosperous,  but  may 
be  pregnant  of  good  if  it  teach  intending 
managers  of  Italian  opera  to  rely  on 
general  excellence  of  ensemble,  rather 
than  on  stars  that  may  at  any  moment 
be  eclipsed.— Globe,  1st  July  1885. 

According  to  Cocker  (Peoples'). 
Quite  correct,  according  to  rule. 
Cocker  flourished  in  1694,  when  the 
first  edition  of  his  Arithmetic  appeared 
at  the  sign  of  the  Black  Boy  on 
London  Bridge.  In  the  beginning 
there  was  no  sense  of  the  preposterous 
in  declaring  a  thing  was  'according 
to  Cocker'.  Probably  the  quaintness 
of  the  name  brought  down  the  dignity 
of  the  phrase. 

According  to  Gunter  (Peoples'). 
Used  precisely  as  'according  to 
Cocker '.  Gunter  was  a  distinguished 
arithmetician,  and  the  inventor  of  a 
chain  and  scale  for  measuring. 
'Gunter's  chain'  is  dragged  over  the 
land  to  this  day.  '  Give  me  the 
Gunter'  is  as  common  a  phrase 
amongst  surveyors  as  'Give  me  the 
chain '. 

Acknowledge  the  Corn  (Amer. 
English}.  Adroit  confession  of  minor 
offence  to  intensify  the  denial  of  the 
major  offence:  e.g.,  'Sir,  I  believe 
you  are  after  my  wife — and  you 
certainly  pocketed  my  meerschaum  last 
Sunday  evening  at  10.30.'  To  which 
the  answer  might  be:  'Well,  I 
acknowledge  the  corn — I  took  the 
pipe  by  incident,  so  to  speak ;  but  as 
to  Mrs  H.,  I'm  as  innocent  as  the 
skipping  lamb.'  Said  to  arise  from 

an  ordinary  horse -lifting  case  in  the 
West  of  U.S.A.  The  victim  was 
accused  of  stealing  four  horses  from 
one  point  and  four  feeds  of  corn  from 
another  for  the  said  four  horses. 
c  I  acknowledge  the  corn,'  said  the 
sufferer  —  but  legend  says  he  was 
lynched  in  spite  of  the  admission. 

Acting  Ladies  (Theatrical,  1883). 
Indifferent  artistes.  Mrs  Langtry, 
moving  in  society,  having  (1882) 
appeared  as  an  actress  in  London, 
and  in  the  same  year  gone  to  America, 
where  she  made  vast  sums  of  money, 
many  ladies  of  more  education  than 
dramatic  ability  turned  their  attention 
to  the  stage.  Eleven  out  of  a  dozen 
totally  failed,  and  few  '  twelfths '  kept 
before  the  public :  hence  an  '  acting 
lady'  soon  came,  amongst  theatrical 
people,  to  represent  an  incapable 
actress:  e.g.,  'She  isn't  a  comedian, 
you  know,  she's  an  acting  lady.' 

Acting  ladies,  in  my  opinion,  should 
be  severely  left  alone.  There  is  no 
pleasing  them  or  their  friends.  — 
Entr'acte,  February  1883. 

Actor's  Bible  (Theatrical).  The 
Era.  This  phrase  was  one  of  the  first 
directed  against  sacred  matters,  about 
the  time  when  Essays  and  Reviews  was 
much  discussed  (1860-70). 

Mr  Sydney  Grundy,  whose  sensitive- 
ness sometimes  outruns  his  discretion, 
issued  a  challenge  to  Mr  Clement  Scott 
in  '  the  Actor's  Bible  '.—Ref.  1883. 

There  was  a  motion  in  the  Court  of 
Chancery  on  Friday,  before  Mr  Justice 
Chitty,  to  commit  the  proprietor  of  the 
'Actor's  Bible'  for  contempt  of  Court 
for  allowing  certain  remarks  about  '  un- 
principled imitators'  of  Miss  Genevieve 
Ward  to  appear  in  print. — Cutting. 

Adam  and  Eve's  togs  (Peoples'). 
Nakedness.  (See  Birth-day  suit.) 

Adam's  Ale  (Peoples').  Water- 
probably  from  the  time  of  the  Stuart 
Puritans.  If  so,  it  forms  a  good 
example  of  national  history  in  a  word 
or  phrase. 

Ad's  my  Life  (Peoples';  18  cent.). 
An  18  cent,  form  of  '  God's  my  life '. 
(See  Odd's  life.) 

Ad's  Bud  (18  cent.).  God's  Bud, 
i.e.,  Christ.  Common  in  H.  Fielding. 

Advertisement  Conveyancers  (Soc. , 
1883).  Street  Advertisement  Board 
Carriers.  (See  Sandwich  Men.) 
Brought  in  by  W.  E.  Gladstone  (2nd 
May  1883),  during  his  speech  at  the 


Agony  in  Red 

inauguration  dinner  of  the  National 
Liberal  Club  in  these  words  : 

These  fellow-citizens  of  ours  have  it 
for  their  lot  that  the  manly  and  interest- 
ing proportions  of  the  human  form  are 
in  their  case  disguised  both  before  and 
after  by  certain  oblong  formations  which 
appear  to  have  no  higher  purpose  than 
what  is  called  conveying  an  advertise- 
ment.— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Society  accepted  the  phrase  and  the 
Premier's  enemies  shot  many  a  shaft 
anent  it. 

^Egis  (Latin).  A  shield,  hence  pro- 
tection, patronage,  from  Minerva's 
habit  of  putting  her  invisible  shield 
in  front  of  her  favourites  when  in 

Madam  Adelina  Patti  appeared  yester- 
day afternoon  under  the  aegis  of  Messrs 
Harrison,  and  once  more  gathered  a 
great  audience  round  her. — D.  T.,  4th 
June  1897. 

^Estheticism  (Soc.,  1865  - 1890). 
Ideal  social  ethics,  represented  out- 
wardly by  emblems,  chiefly  floral,  the 
more  significant  flowers  being  the 
white  lily  and  the  sunflower. 

The  women  wore  their  dresses  chiefly 
in  neutral  tints,  and  especially  in  three 
series,  viz.  : — greens,  dead  leaf  (the 
yellows,  or  yellowish,  of  the  series) ; 
olive  (the  middle  path  of  colour) ;  and 
sage  (the  blues  of  the  series).  In  each 
of  these  series  there  were  scores  of 
tints.  The  pomegranate  was  also  a 
fetish.  (See  Grego. ) 

The  joke  of  sestheticism  and  sunflowers 
had  been  smiled  at  and  had  died  once 
or  twice  between  1865  and  1878  before  it 
was  familiar  enough  to  the  public  for 
dramatic  purposes. — D.  N.t  27th  January 

Affigraphy  (Coster).  To  a  T, 
exactly.  A  corruption  of  autograph 
— the  vulgar  regarding  a  signature  as 
of  world-wide  importance  and  gravity. 
(See  Sivvy.) 

Afters  (Devon).  Sweets — pies  and 
puddings.  '  Bring  in  the  afters '  is 
a  common  satirical  remark  in  poor 
Devonshire  houses,  especially  when 
there  are  no  '  afters '  to  follow.  Also 
used  in  Scotland,  e.g.,  'Hey  mon,  a 
dinner,  an'  nae  afters  ! ' 

Afternoon  Calls  (Soc.,  19  cent.). 
Referring  to  exclusive  society,  who 
have  never  accepted  the  afternoon 
'drums'  and  five  o'clock  teas,  but 
adhered  to  the  more  formal  15 -minute 
afternoon  visit. 

You  had  not  observed  that  sort  of 
thing  before  marriage?  Never.  What 
I  saw  of  her  was  at  afternoon  calls. — 
Lord  Gerard's  evidence  in  Lord  Durham's 
Nullity  of  Marriage  suit,  March  1885. 

Afternoonified  (Soc.).     Smart. 

What  may  prove  a  popular  new  adjec- 
tive made  its  first  appearance  last  week. 
A  lady  entered  a  fashionable  drapery 
store.  The  lady  found  nothing  to  please 
her.  The  shopwalker  then  was  called. 
This  individual,  with  a  plausible  tale  or 
compliment,  will  invariably  effect  a  sale 
after  all  other  means  have  failed.  In 
reply  to  his  question  whether  the  goods 
were  not  suitable,  the  fastidious  customer 
answered :  '  No,  thank  you ;  they  are 
not  "afternoonified"  enough  for  me.' 
In  the  case  of  a  lady  armed  with  an 
argument  of  such  calibre  what  was  the 
shopwalker  to  say  or  do?  Like  a  wise 
man,  he  expressed  his  regret  and  beat 
a  dignified  retreat.  The  lady  did  the 
same,  but  the  adjective  remained.  — 
D.  T.,  July  1897. 

*  After  you  with  the  push'  (Peoples'). 
Said,  with  satirical  mock  politeness, 
in  the  streets  to  any  one  who  has 
roughly  made  his  way  past  the  speaker, 
and  'smudged'  him. 

Aggeravators,  Hagrerwaiters 
(Costermongers).  Side-curls  still  worn 
by  a  few  conservative  costennongers. 
Of  two  kinds — the  ring,  or  ringlet  (the 
more  ancient),  and  the  twist,  dubbed, 
doubtless  in  the  first  place  by  satirists, 
'Newgate  Knockers'.  Indeed  the 
model  of  this  embellishment  might 
have  been  the  knocker  of  the  door  of 
the  house  of  the  governor  of  that  gaol. 
The  aggravation  may  mean  that  these 
adornments  excite  envy  in  those  who 
cannot  grow  these  splendours,  or  that 
they  aggravate  or  increase  the  admira- 
tion of  the  fair  sex.  The  younger 
costers  wear  rival  forehead  tufts — such 
as  the  Quiff,  the  Guiver,  or  the  Flop. 
There  is,  however,  one  golden  rule  for 
these  fashions — the  hair  must  stop 
short  of  the  eyelids. 

Agony  in  Red  (Soc.).  Vermilion 
costume.  When  the  aesthetic  craze 
was  desperately  'on'  (1879-81),  terms 
used  in  music  were  applied  to  paint- 
ing, as  a  'nocturne  in  silver-grey,'  a 
'symphony  in  amber,'  a  'fugue  in 
purple,' an  'andante  in  shaded  violet'. 
Hence  it  was  an  easy  transition  to 
apply  terms  of  human  emotions  to 

There  are  many  terrible  tints  even  now 
to  be  found  among  the  repertory  of  the 

Agreeable  Rattle 

Alhambra  War  Whoop 

leaders  of  fashion — agonies  in  red,  livid 
horrors  in  green,  ghastly  lilacs,  and 
monstrous  mauves.  —Newsp.  Cutting. 

Agreeable  Rattle  (Soc.,  ab.  1840). 
A  chattering  young  man.  The  genus 
has  long  since  disappeared.  The  A.  R. 
went  out  with  the  great  Exhibition  of 

Roderick  Doo  appeared  to  be  what  the 
ladies  call  an  agreeable  rattle. — Albert 
Smith,'  Mr  Ledbury  (1842). 

Ah,  dear  me !  (Soc.,  18  and  19  cents.). 
An  ejaculation  of  sorrow,  perhaps  from 
'  Ah,  Dieu  mais  ! '  which  in  its  turn 
came  from  Ay  de  mi  (q.v.).  Probably 
introduced  by  Catherine  of  Braganza 
or  one  of  her  French  contemporaries  at 
Whitehall  ('Ah,  dear  me,  but  it's  a 
wicked  world'). 

Ah,  que  je  can  be  bete  !  (Half -Soc. , 
1899).  A  new  macaronic  saying — 
French  and  English.  Amongst  the 
lower  classes  another  ran  '  Twiggy  - 
vous  the  chose  ? ' 

'Aipenny  Bumper  (London  Streets). 
A  two-farthing  omnibus  ride,  descrip- 
tive of  the  vehicles  in  question  which 
were  not  generally  great  works  in 
carriage  -  building,  until  the  London 
County  Council  started  (1899)  a  line  of 
£d.  'busses  between  Waterloo  Station 
and  Westminster  along  the  Strand. 
The  L.C.C.  'busses  were  as  good  as 
any  others,  and  better  than  most. 

Air-hole  (Soc.,  1885-95).  A  small 
public  garden,  generally  a  dismally 
converted  graveyard,  with  the  ancient 
gravestones  set  up  at '  attention '  against 
the  boundary  walls. 

For  some  years  past  the  churchyard 
has  been  disused,  and  the  Metropolitan 
Public  Gardens  Association,  with  a  keen 
eye  for  what  it  not  inaptly  terms  'air- 
holes,' has  been  making  strenuous  efforts 
to  secure  it  as  an  ornamental  space. — 
D.  T.,  1st  June  1895. 

Air-man-chair  (Music-hall  trans- 
position). Chairman  —  effected  by 
taking  the  'ch'  from  the  beginning 
and  adding  it,  with  'air',  to  the 
termination.  Very  confusing  and  once 
equally  popular,  e.g.,  'The  air-man- 
chair  is  got  up  no  end  to-night,'  i.e.,  is 
well  dressed.  The  chairman  has  now 
been  abolished  in  music-halls.  He 
was  supposed  to  keep  order  and  lead 
choruses.  The  modern  public  now  do 
these  things  for  themselves. 

Albany   Beef  (Amer.).     Unattrac- 
tive viands. 
The  New  York  Herald  concludes  by 

observing  that  'ioukka',  which  it  calls 
'really  the  national  soup  of  Russia',  to 
'one  of  simple  tastes,  must  resemble 
Hudson  River  sturgeon,  otherwise  known 
as  Albany  beef,  struck  by  Jersey 
lightning '.—G.  A.  Sala,  in  D.  T., 
30th  June  1883. 

Albertine  (Soc. ,  1860-80).  An  adroit, 
calculating,  business  -  like  mistress  ; 
from  the  character  of  that  name  in 
Le  Pere  Prodigue  (A.  Dumas  fils).  She 
is  in  his  play  an  economical  housewife, 
but  looks  to  her  own  ledger  with 
remorseless  accuracy.  The  word  is 
used  and  understood  in  England  only 
by  persons  of  high  rank.  In  France 
it  is  used  by  all  classes  as  a  term  of 
reproach,  addressed  even  to  a  wife  for 
any  display  of  niggardliness.  (Sec 
Nana,  Oheri.) 

Alderman  hung1  in  Chains  (City). 
A  fat  turkey  decked  with  garlands  of 
sausages.  From  the  appearance  of 
the  City  fathers,  generally  portly — 
becoming  more  so  when  carrying  their 
chains  of  office  over  their  powerful 

Alderman  (Peoples').  Half  a  dollar 
=  half  a  crown,  which  by  the  way  is 
fivepence  more  than  the  American 
'  half.  Its  origin  beyond  the  reach  of 
discovery  ;  it  is  probably  derived  from 
some  remote  alderman  who  when  on 
the  bench  habitually  ladled  out  this 
coin  to  applicants  for  relief. 

Alexandra  Limp  (Soc.,  ab.  1872). 
An  affected  manner  of  walking  seen  for 
several  years  amongst  women.  Said  to 
have  been  imitated  from  the  temporary 
mode  in  which  the  then  Princess  of 
Wales  walked  after  some  trouble  with 
a  knee.  (See  Buxton  Limp,  Grecian 
Bend,  Roman  Fall.) 

Alhambra  War  Whoop  (Theatrico- 
political,l87Q).  The 'historical' defiance 
cast  at  each  other  by  the  Germans  and 
French  in  London  during  the  Franco- 
German  war.  Speaking  of  the  destruc- 
tion of  the  theatre  by  fire  (Dec.  1882) 
G.  A.  Sala  wrote  at  the  time  in  The 
Illus.  London  News : 

Do  you  remember  the  '  War  Whoop  at 
the  Alhambra'?  That  was  during  the 
Franco-German  war  in  1870 — in  the  late 
Mr  Sawyer's  time,  and  just  after  the 
refusal  of  the  dancing  licence  to  the 
place.  The  enterprising  lessee,  not  to 
be  baffled  by  the  unkind  action  of  the 
Areopagus  of  Clerkenwell  Green,  deter- 
mined to  'take  it  out'  in  international 
noise  ;  so  every  evening  towards  the  close 


All  of  a  Piece 

of  the  performance  he  organised  one 
band  which  played  the  'Marseillaise', 
the  strains  of  which  were  immediately 
followed  by  the  enlivening  notes  of  the 
German  '  Wacht  am  Rhein '.  Then 
ensued  the  Alhambresque  '  War  Whoop '. 
The  Frenchmen  in  the  house  cheered 
their  own  melody  to  the  echo,  and 
groaned,  whistled,  and  yelled  at  the 
Teutonic  air.  The  Germans,  on  their 
side,  received  the  '  Wacht  am  Rhein ' 
with  clamorous  exultation,  and  hooted 
and  bellowed  at  the  '  Marseillaise '.  The 
English  portion  of  the  audience  im- 
partially screamed  and  howled.  The 
appalling  charivari  nightly  drew  crowds 
to  the  Alhambra ;  but  the  excitement 
did  not  last  long. 

All  (L.  Peoples'}.  Perfect,  extreme, 
complete,  absolute — the  sum  of  street 
gentlemen's  admiration,  e.g.,  'She's 
all  there,'  'All  a  lark,'  'All  on,'  'All 
a  neat  bit.' 

'It's  all  bosh.'  All  is  a  big  word. 
Does  he  refer  to  the  meeting,  the  Royal 
Exchange,  the  speeches,  the  speakers,  or 
the  existence  of  unemployed  thousands  ? 
His  favourite  word  comes  in  again  in  the 
supplementary  remark  :  '  It's  all  a  game.' 
My  friend  says  he  is  a  French  polisher, 
and  he  smells  like  one.  He  further 
informs  me  that  he  belongs  to  some 
mysterious  commonwealth,  that  he  is 
a  teetotaler,  a  vegetarian,  a  non-smoker. 
When  I  hint  to  him — emphasizing  his 
own  term — that  he  is  all  too  good  for  me, 
he  cheerily  comforts  me  with  '  Not  a  bit 
of  it ;  it's  all  right '.  This  is  as  it  should 
be — all  bosh,  all  a  game,  all  right. — 
I).  N.,  5th  February  1885.  (See  Neat.) 

All  his  buttons  on  (C.  L.,  1880  on). 
Sharp,  alive,  active,  not  to  be  deceived. 
He  is  eighty-three  years  of  age,  but  as 
we  say  hereabouts,  has  all  his  buttons  on 
(laughter),  and  he  says,  '  I  never  heard  of 
greater  nonsense  in  all  my  life.  Here  I 
am,  W.  G.  of  the  "Blue  Boar",  who,  if 
the  Duke  of  So-and-So  gives  me  notice  in 
September  to  quit  next  Lady  Day,  have 
to  leave  my  licence  behind  me  without 
any  compensation.' — Sir  W.  Harcourt, 
Speech  in  Bermondsey,  20th  May  1890. 

All  a-cock  (Peoples'}.  Overthrown, 
vanquished.  It  may  be  a  version  of 
knocked  into  a  cocked  hat,  (q.v.),  or, 
more  probably  it  is  derived  from  cock- 
fighting  ;  e.  g. ,  '  He's  all  a  kick, '  meaning 
a  dying  bird,  from  the  motion  of  the 
legs  during  the  agony  of  death.  This 
would  pass  into  '  cock  '  readily,  seeing 
that  the  conquering  bird  was  always 
called  '  a  game '  one  ;  or  '  he  just  only 
tripped  me,  an'  I  was  all  a-cock  in  a 
one-two '. 

All  a  treat  (Street).  Perfection  of 
enjoyment,  sometimes  used  satirically 
to  depict  mild  catastrophe. 

All-fired  (Amer.).  A  euphemism 
for  hell-fired,  used  as  a  general 
intensive,  e.g.,  'I  was  in  an  all-fired 

All  it  is  worth  (Amer.).  To  the 
fullest  extent,  as  fully  as  possible. 

Scalchi,  to  use  a  side-walk  phrase, 
played  Siebel  for  all  the  character  was 
worth,  and  was  evidently  the  favourite. 
— N.  Y.  Mercury,  1883. 

All  my  eye  and  Betty  Martin 
(Peoples'1}.  An  expression  of  disbelief, 
evasive  declaration  that  the  person 
addressed  is  a  liar.  Perhaps  the 
finest  example  extant  of  colloquial 
exclamations  reaching  to-day  from 
pre-Reformation  times.  St  Martin 
was,  and  is,  the  patron  saint  of 
beggars.  The  prayer  to  St  Martin 
opens,  '0,  mini,  beate  Martine.' 

This  phrase  was  used  by  English 
mendicants  (and  is  still  used  by  South- 
Italian  beggars)  when  asking  for  alms. 
When  indiscriminate  charity  'went 
out'  in  England  at  the  date  of  the 
Reformation,  this  phrase  fell  into 
bad  repute  as  representing  a  lazy  and 
lying  class.  It  is  still  used  by  the 
commoner  classes  as  an  expression  of 
doubt,  though  it  has  been  very  widely 
superseded  by  'humbug'  (q.v.). 

All  my  own  (London  Apprentices, 
19  cent.).  Freedom, 'mastership.  Its 
use  is  disappearing  with  the  tendency 
to  abolish  apprenticeship. 

I'm  quite  in  the  world  alone 
And  I'll  marry  you 
If  you'll  be  true, 

The  day  I'm  all  my  own.— (1896). 
All  my  eye  and  my  elbow  (London, 
1882).  Fictional :  appears  to  be  a 
flight  of  genius  starting  from  'all 
my  eye  and  Betty  Martin',  got  into 
form,  not  because  Betty  Martin  had 
become  vulgar,  but  possibly  because 
her  vague  identity  led  to  conventional 
divergencies.  There  is  a  smart  aspect 
about  this  term,  for,  while  eye  and 
elbow  offered  a  weak  alliteration,  there 
is  some  sort  of  association  and  agree- 
ment in  the  action  of  these  personal 
belongings,  for  one  can  wink  with  the 
eye  and  nudge  with  the  elbow  at  once. 
All  of  a  piece  (Peoples').  Awkward, 
without  proper  distribution  or  relation 
of  parts,  e.g.,  'He  lounged  in— all  of 
a  piece.'  'Have  you  seen  his  new 
Venus  ?  Awful — all  of  a  piece.' 

All  over  Grumble 

Ally  Sloper 

All  over  grumble  (Peoples'). 

In  some  of  the  things  that  have  been 
seen  here  it  has  been  a  case  of  all  over 
grumble,  but  Thursday's  show  was  all 
over  approval.— Re/.,  28th  March  1886. 

All  over  red  (Railway,  to  public,  1840 
on).  Dangerous,  to  be  avoided.  From 
red  being  the  colour  signal  of  danger 
throughout  the  railway  world.  The 
phrase  has  been  accepted  by  the  public 
at  large.  (See  Be  Green,  White  Light, 
Paint  the  Town  Red.) 

All  poppy  cock  (Amer.).  Mere 
brag,  nonsense.  Perhaps  a  figure  of 
speech  drawn  from  the  natural  history 
of  the  field-poppy,  which  looks  very 
braw,  military,  cockish,  and  flaunting, 
but  which  tumbles  to  pieces  if  touched, 
or  droops  and  faints  almost  directly  it 
is  gathered. 

All  right  up  to  now  (Street}. 
Smiling,  serene.  Derived  from  enceinte 
women  making  the  remark  as  to  their 
condition.  Used  by  Herbert  Campbell 
as  a  catch-phrase  in  Covent  Garden 
Theatre  Pantomime,  1878. 

All-round  muddle  (Stock  Exchange, 
1870).  Complete  entanglement. 

Her  '  bondage '  is  not  of  lengthened 
duration,  inasmuch  as  the  husband, 
finding  himself  in  an  all-round  muddle, 
shoots  himself  dead. — Cutting. 

When  reporters  get  hold  of  a  new 
phrase  they  are  liable  to  work  it  to 
death.  At  present  they  are  grinding 
away  at  '  all-round '.  They  tell  about 
the  all-round  fighter,  the  all-round  base- 
ball player,  the  all-round  reporter,  the 
all-round  thief,  and  the  all-round  actor. 
One  reporter  said  the  other  day  that 
whisky  was  the  best  all-round  mischief- 
maker  there  was  in  the  world,  and  he 
probably  hasn't  been  all-round  either. — 
Cutting,  1888. 

All  very  fine  and  large  (Lond., 
1886).  Satirical  applause  ;  from  the 
refrain  of  a  song  sung  by  Mr  Herbert 

How  many  people  passed  the  turnstiles 
at  the  Alexandra  Palace  I  am  not  in  a 
position  to  say,  but  that  the  attendance 
was  all  very  fine  and  large  is  beyond 
dispute.— Ref.,  7th  August  1887. 

Alley  (Peoples').  A  go-between. 
Evidently  from  '  aller ',  to  go. 

Mrs  Cox  was  an  alley  for  her. — 
Bravo  Coroner's  Inquest. 

Alice  samee  (Pidgeon  English).  All 
the  same.  Used  by  Chinese  cheap 
abourers  when  detected  in  trying  to 

cheat.  'Washy  money  allee  samee,' 
applied  by  Anglo -Asiatics  in  a  satirical 
spirit  where  things  are  not  quite 
satisfactory.  '  It  appeared  that  they 
were  not  quite  married,  but  that  they 
lived  together  allee  samee.' — N.  Y. 
Mercury,  February  1883. 

Alligators  (Amer.).  People  of 
Florida,  so  named  from  the  alligators 
there  ;  used  also  because  the  Floridans 
are  supposed  to  be  as  greedy  as  these 
reptiles.  Of  course,  an  invention  of 
some  other  State  or  States. 

'Will  you  kindly  tell  me  which  way 
the  wind  blows  ? '  asked  a  Northern 
invalid  of  the  landlord  of  a  Florida 
hotel.  'Certainly,  sir,'  replied  the 
landlord,  stepping  to  the  door ;  '  the 
wind  now  blows  due  north,  sir.'  '  Thank 
you.'  A  little  later  the  landlord  said  to 
the  bookkeeper :  '  Have  you  made  out 
Mr  Smith's  bill  yet  ? '  '  No,  sir.'  '  Well, 
just  charge  one  dollar  to  his  account 
for  information  about  the  direction  of 
the  wind.' 

Alls  (Public-House).  Waste  pot  at 
public-houses.  On  all  public-house 
pewter  counters  may  be  seen  holes, 
down  which  go  spillings  of  everything. 
Popular  mistrust  runs  to  the  belief 
that  these  collections  are  used  up 
— hence  the  comment  upon  bad  beer. 
'This  must  be  alls.'  As  a  fact,  the 
brewer  allows  a  barrel  of  good  beer  for 
every  barrel  of  alls  forwarded  to  the 
brewery.  What  does  the  brewer  do 
with  it?  This  is  indeed  wanting  to 
know,  at  the  end  of  the  book,  what 
became  of  the  executioner  ?  Pro- 
bability is  in  favour  of  the  sewer- 

Allsopp  (Peoples').  Short  for 
Allsopp's  Pale  Ale. 

Ally  Luja  lass  (Lond.  Street,  1886 
on).  Hallelujah  lass  was  the  name 
given  to  the  girl  contingent  of  the 
Salvation  Army,  when  the  movement 
rose  into  importance  in  London,  and 
General  Booth  made  an  effort  to 
purchase  all  the  theatres,  succeeding, 
however,  only  in  one  case,  that  of  the 
Grecian  Theatre,  City  Road. 

She  sed  thay  wur  Ally  Luja's  lasses. 
'Ally  Luja's  asses,'  I  sed;  'thay  wants 
kikkin.' — Comic  Report  of  a  Salvation 
Meeting  (1870). 

Ally  Sloper  (Street,  1870  on).  A 
dissipated -looking  old  man  with  a  red 
and  swollen  nose.  Invented  by  Mr 
Charles  Ross,  who  ran  him  in  print 
for  a  score  of  years. 

Almighty  Dollar 


Almighty  dollar  (Amer.).  This 
expression,  a  derisive  synonym  for 
money  os  Mammon,  originated  with 
Washington  Irving.  It  is  found  in  his 
Creole  Village,  and  reads  thus  : 

'The  Almighty  Dollar,  that  great 
object  of  urdversal  devotion  throughout 
our  land,  seems  to  have  no  genuine 
devotees  in  these  peculiar  villages.' 

Alphonse  'Soc.,  1870  on).  A  man 
of  position  who  accepts  money  from  a 
married  woman  or  women  richer,  and 
probably  older,  than  himself,  as  recom- 
pense for  remaking  her  or  their  lover. 
Quite  understood  in  Paris— not  known 
out  of  society  ii  London.  From  the 
play  Monsieur  Alphonse  (Alexandre 
Dumas,  fils). 

There  was  yesterday  evening  and  up 
to  the  small  hours  of  the  morning  a 
serious  riot  in  the  Latin  Quarter,  caused 
by  the  students  who  continue  from  time 
to  time  to  make  violent  demonstrations 
against  those  professional  allies  of 
certain  women — men  who  bear  the  name 
of  '  Alphonse ' — a  sobriquet  invented  by 
Alexandre  Dumas,  one  which  has  passed 
into  the  language. — Nwcsp.  Cutting. 

Altogether  (Soc.,  1894).  The  nude 
in  art.  From  Du  Mauri er's  Trilby, 
who  is  an  artist's  model.  '  I  sit  for 
the  altogether.' 

The  New  York  Mercury,  27th 
September  1895,  has  this  heading: 
Will  the  next  fad  be  photographs  of 
modern  woman  taken  in  the  '  altogether'  ? 
Society  women  now  have  their  busts 
done  in  marble,  their  hands  and  arms  in 
bronze,  and  their  legs  photographed. 

In  The  Demagogue  and  Lady  Phayre, 
the  labour  leader  appears  as  a  figure 
of  rude  nobility.  The  proportions  are 
not  heroic ;  they  are  simply  life-size. 
In  the  altogether  they  make  up  an 
individuality  rich,  massive,  and  imposing. 
—  Weekly  Sun,  29th  December  1895. 
They  wore  little  underclothing — scarcely 
anything — or  no — thing — 

And  their  dress  of  Coan  silk  was  quite 

transparent  in  design — 
Well,  in  fact,  in  summer  weather,  some- 
thing like  the  '  altogether ', 

And  it's  there  I  rather  fancy,  I  shall 
have  to  draw  the  line  ! 
— Mr  W.  S.  Gilbert's  'The  Grand 
Duke',  March  1896. 

There  was  no  earthly  necessity  why 
the  Hotel  du  Libre  Echange  should  be 
an  improper  play,  except  that  the 
modern  French  audience  revels  in 
impropriety.  They  like  it,  they  wallow 
in  it,  and  they  destroy  their  native 
ingenuity  in  construction  and  invention 

with  what  we  may  call  '  the  cult  of  the 
altogether^.  —D.  T.,  30th  April  1896. 

Altogether^  (Soc.).  Drunk— from 
the  tendency  of  a  drunken  man  to 
lounge  himself.  Byron  uses  the  term 
in  a  letter  of  1816. 

Amen  Corner  (California/a).  A 

Sunday  found  them,  judge  and 
lawyers,  seated  in  the  '  amen  corner '. — 
All  the  Year  Round,  31st  October  1868. 

A' mighty  (Amer.).  One  of  the 
first  evasions  of  an  oath  -  like 
word.  It  is,  of  course,  a  corruption 
of  '  almighty '. 

As  you  know,  young  fellur,  them  goats 
is  a'mighty  kewrous  anymal — as  kewrous 
as  weemen  is. 

Ammedown  Shop  (Poor).  Corrup- 
tion of  Hand-me-down  Shop.  A  good 
example  of  a  phrase  getting  bastardized 
into  one  meaningless  word.  '  George, 
my  dear,  ammedown  my  gal's  Turkey- 
red  frock.' 

Amok.     See  Run  a-muck. 

Anatomy  (Peoples',  formerly 
Literary).  A  thin  needy  boy,  or  old 
withered  soul.  In  common  English ;  it 
has  been  reduced  to  natermy,  e.g., 
1  He  were  a  perfick  'nattermy.' 

A  boy  of  twelve  stood  leaning  against 
a  fence  on  Duffield  Street,  hat  pulled 
down,  feet  crossed,  and  his  right  hand 
going  up  occasionally  to  wipe  his  nose, 
when  along  came  another  anatomy  about 
his  size. — Detroit  Free  Press. 

Ancient  Mariners  (Cambridge 
Univ.).  Graduates  still  associated 
with  the  University  who  continue  to 

At  Cambridge  Fawcett  rowed  stroke 
(the  necessary  position  of  a  blind  man)  in 
the  crew  of  '  Ancient  Mariners ',  as  the 
older  members  of  the  University  who 
still  ply  the  oar  are  called.—  D.  N.,  7th 
November  1884. 

Androgynaikal  (Art.).  Appertain- 
ing to  the  nude  figure,  and  to  the 
anatomy  of  both  sexes. 

Simeon  Solomon's  notion  of  the  classic 
ideal  in  his  picture  called  '  Sacramentum 
amoris',  a  small  figure,  as  nude  as  may 
be,  girt  with  a  skin  of  a  panther  and 
a  light  blue  sash,  and  background  of 
yellow  drapery,  but  of  that  peculiar 
type  of  form  to  which  the  term  '  andro- 
gunaikal '  is  applied  in  art,  and  holding 
a  long  thyrsus. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Angel  (N.  London  Street).  A  woman 
of  the  town  fringing  the  Angel  at 
Islington,  e.g.,  'What  are  you  doing 


Apostle  of  Culture 

here  ?  you  ain't  a  Angel — you're  only  a 
Sinker'  (i.e.,  St  Luker,  from  the  Parish 
of  St  Luke,  in  the  City  Road,  which  is 
considered  at  the  Angel  as  socially 
below  Islington,  as  it  is  comparatively 
depressed  in  its  physical  want  of 
elevation  in  comparison  with  the  Angel, 
which  is  quite  at  the  top  of  the  hill). 

Angel-makers  (Peop.,  1889  on). 
Baby-farmers  ;  because  so  many  of  the 
farmed  babies  die.  Probably  from  the 
French  '  Faiseuses  des  anges '. 

'  ANGEL  -  MAKING  '. — Another  case  of 
baby-farming,  or  '  angel-making',  as  it  is 
called  in  Austria,  has  just  been  dis- 
covered by  the  Lemberg  police,  who 
have  arrested  three  women  on  the  charge 
of  systematically  starving  to  death  infants 
committed  to  their  care. — Newsp.  Cutting, 
December  1892. 

They  are  not  only  under  a  cloud  owing 
to  the  deaths  of  Miss  Thompson  and 
Mademoiselle  Madet,  but  every  day  a 
fresh  charge  is  laid  at  their  doors,  and 
some  people  have  even  gone  so  far  as 
to  describe  them  as  members  of  a  band 
of  what  Parisians  call  'angel-makers'. — 
D.  T.,  7th  December  1896. 

Angels  on  Horseback  (Virginia). 
Fricasseed  oysters — meaning  exquisite. 
Origin  not  known. 

Anglican  Inch  (Church,  1870  on). 
Description  given  by  the  ritualistic 
clergy  of  the  short  square  whisker 
which  is  so  much  affected  by  the 
Broad  Church  party.  The  Hits  (q.v.) 
call  themselves  the  *  Church  of  England ', 
the  generally  accepted  Broad  Church, 
or  Taits  as  they  were  called  in  Arch- 
bishop Tait's  time,  are  'Anglicans' — 
hence  the  'inch'.  (See  St  Alban's 
Clean  Sweep.) 

Anguagela  (Transposed)  Language. 
A  good  example  of  the  confusion 
produced  by  transposing  and  repeating 
a  syllable  or  letter  ;  e.g., 

How  the  Lord  Chamberlain's  people 
pass  this  stuff  goodness  only  knows. 
Perhaps  they  don't  understand  the 
French  anguagela. 

Animal  (L.  0.  and  D.  Railway 
Passengers,  1860).  Synonym  for  the 
1  Elephant  and  Castle '  station.  '  Third- 
class  Animal '  is,  or  was,  quite  under- 
stood by  the  railway  booking-clerks  of 
the  district. 

Animal  (Tavern).  A  disguised,  or 
flippant,  reference  amongst  boon  com- 
panions to  the  tavern,  used  in  common 
when  the  sign  is  zoological,  such 
as  the  Bull,  Bear,  Lion,  Dragon — 


but  more  especially  referring  to  the 
Elephant  and  Castle  (S.  London) ; 
until  (1882)  this  place  was  exception- 
ally dubbed  'Jumbo'  (q.v.). 

Anno    Domini,    B.C.   {Soc.,    1890 
on).     Relating  to  unknown  longevity. 
'He     must    be    very    anno    domini, 
mustn't  he  ? '     '  A.D.  ?  my  dear  fellow, 
say  B.C.' 

Anonyma  (Soc.,  186>).  A  name 
given  to  women  of  gaZlantry  in  an 
article  in  the  Times  commenting  on  a 
well-known  Phryne  of  chat  day.  The 
word  lasted  many  years  and  came  to 
be  synonymous  with  a  gay  woman. 

She  could  kick  highsr  in  the  can-can 
than  any  anony  ma  there. — N.  Y.  Mercury, 

Anti-queer-uns  (Soc.,  18  cent.).  A 
perversion  of  'antiquarians',  due  to 

So  many  interesting  associations 
cluster  around  the  remains  of  the  old 
nunnery  at  Godstow,  a  mile  or  two  out 
of  Oxford,  that  it  is  rather  surprising 
so  little  attention  has  been  bestowed  on 
the  ruin.  Perhaps  it  may  be  difficult 
even  for  '  Anti-queer-uns ',  as  Foote  calls 
them,  to  get  up  much  enthusiasm  over 
nameless  graves, — D.  AT.,  3rd  February 

Anti-Tox  (Amer. ,  reaching  England 
1885).  A  drug  to  sober  a  drunken 
person.  Tox  is,  of  course,  the 
abbreviation  of  intoxication. 

A  reporter  noticed  the  singular  fact 
that  nearly  every  one  who  went  into  a 
leading  saloon  was  under  the  influence 
of  some  powerful  stimulant,  and  nearly 
every  one  who  came  out  was  painfully 
sober.  Then  he  determined  to  go  in  and 
see  about  it.  'Have  a  dose  of  Anti- 
Tox?'  asked  the  barkeeper,  recognising 
the  reporter.  'It's  the  greatest  thing 
on  earth  ;  you  come  to  me  rocking  from 
one  side  of  the  saloon  to  the  other  and 
reeking  with  the  fumes  of  the  vilest 
whisky,  and  I  will  make  a  new  man  of 
you  while  you  are  getting  out  a  twenty- 
cent  piece.' — Minneapolis  Oaz.,  1885. 

'Apenny-lot  day  (Costers').  A  bad 
time  for  business — really,  when  every- 
thing has  to  be  sold  cheap. 

Apostle  of  culture  (Soc.,  1880). 
An  individual  who  sets  up  as  a  perfect 
judge  of  taste.  Probably  started  by 
Sir  Francis  Burn  and  in  Punch. 

Our  self -elected  apostle  of  culture  has 
told  us  that  it  is  as  ridiculous  to  say  that 
such  and  such  a  colour  is  the  fashion  as 
it  would  be  to  assert  that  B  flat  was  the 
fashionable  key. — D.  N.,  13th  January 

Apostles  of  Murder 


Apostles  of  murder  (Pol  it.,  1867 
on).  A  name  given  generally  to 
political  agitators  who  included 
assassination  in  their  programme. 

To  say  nothing  of  dynamite,  and  of 
that  horrible  compound  found  at  Liver- 
pool which  presents  the  innocent  appear- 
ance of  sawdust  but  of  which  every  grain 
is  an  explosive  agency,  the  apostles  of 
murder  are  reported  to  have  employed 
methods  of  offence  even  more  diabolical. 
— D.  N.,  6th  April  1883. 

Apple-jack  (Amer. ).  Spirit  distilled 
from  cider  or  from  the  pulp  of  apples 
already  pressed  for  cider.  (See  Sweet 
Waters. )  '  Jack '  is  a  common  term 
for  spirits  in  U.S.A.  In  Normandy 
this  liquor  is  calvados. 

'A  grindstun  can,'  remarked  a 
weazened  farmer,  who  had  just  called 
for  some  apple-jack. — Newsp.  Cutting, 

Apples  (Corruption  of  Rhyming 
Slang}.  Stairs,  as  thus :  '  Apples  and 
pears — stairs.'  'Bill  an'  Jack's  gone 
up  apples.' 

'Apples  and  pears  in  no  birdlime 
—time.'— (Rhyming  Street,  1882). 

An  obscure  mode  of  describing  sudden 
ejection  from  a  house;  e.g., 

The  flunkeys  had  me  down  stairs 
(apples  and  pears)  in  no  time  (birdlime). 

'Appy  dosser  (Low  Life,  19  cent.). 
A  satirical  description  of  a  homeless 
creature,  so  wretched  as  not  to  have 
the  few  halfpence  necessary  to  pay  for 
a  '  doss ',  or  bed  in  a  common  lodging- 

Elizabeth,  poor  storm-tossed  bit  of  one 
of  the  myriad  wrecks  that  strew  the 
ocean  of  life,  homeless  and  starving, 
dying  of  an  agonizing  ailment,  was, 
having  neither  money  nor  friends,  what 
is  professionally  known  as  a  "appy 
dosser '.  That  is  to  say,  she  would  crawl 
at  night  into  the  open  passages  of  a  low 
lodging-house,  and  fall  down  where  she 
could — in  the  yard  or  the  passage — and 
sleep.— Ref.,  February  1882. 

Archer  up  (London,  1881).  Safe  to 
win.  Formerly  a  popular  phrase  of 
congratulation.  A  man  was  seen 
running  for  and  catching  a  'bus : 
'Archer  up,'  shouted  the  on-lookers. 
A  man  appeared  in  new  clothes : 
'  Archer  up  ! '  Another  threatened  to 
knock  another  down  :  '  Archer  up  ! ' 
here  used  probably  satirically.  The 
phrase  took  its  rise  from  a  celebrated 
jockey  who  suddenly  sprang  to  the 
front  in  1881,  and  carried  everything 


before  him.  It  is  short  for  'Archer 
is  up  in  the  saddle'.  He  rode  with 
an  absolute  recklessness  which  may 
account  for  his  end,  for  he  shot 
himself.  At  once  the  phrase  passed 
away  utterly,  and  was  heard  no  more. 
Arctics  (Amer.).  Winter  clothing, 
which  in  the  earlier  settled  States  is 
decidedly  built  on  a  vast  scale. 

I  hate  a  hotel  where  you  have  to  get 
up  at  4.15  A.M.,  dress  in  a  cold  room, 
and  walk  down  to  the  station  because 
the  'bus  doesn't  go  to  that  train,  and 
about  half-way  down  you  discover  that 
you  left  your  arctics  in  the  office. — Newsp. 

Ardent  (Soc.,  1870).  A  shortened 
form  of  'ardent  spirits'.  From  the 
Mexican  aqua  ardente,  through 

After  this  we  all  felt  in  such  good 
humour  that  the  bottle  passed  freely, 
and  I  fear  that  more  than  one  of  our 
number  swallowed  a  little  too  much  of 
the  ardent.— Newsp.  Cutting,  1878. 

Arer  (Peoples').  More  so.  From 
'  are ',  emphatically  used.  '  We  are, 
and  what's  more,  we  can't  be  any  arer.' 
'Arf-a-mo'  (Peoples',  1890  on). 
Abbreviation  of  '  half  a  moment ', 
cf.,  'half  a  sec.'  and  'half  a  tick'  (of 
a  watch). 
I'll  bet  you  never  noticed  all  the  things 

that  you  can  do 
In  half  a  mo' — half  a  mo', 
So  cock  your  ears  and  listen  and  I'll 

mention  one  or  two, 
In  half  a  mo' — half  a  mo'. 
Tho'  you're  as  sane  as  Satan  you  can  go 

clean  off  your  dot, 
And  then  start  backing  gee-gees  on  a 

system  very  hot ; 
Have  five-and-twenty  thousand  quids  and 

lose  the  blessed  lot 
In  half  a  mo' — half  a  mo'. 
Chorus :  In  half  a  mo' — half  a  mo' 

Your  pluck    and    perseverance 

you  can  show, 

You  can  go  with  other  people 
Down  a  sewer,  climb  a  steeple, 
Fall  an'  break    your  blooming 
neck  in  half  a  mo'. 


Arf-an-arf  (London  Public-house, 
19  cent.).  Half-and-half.  A  mixture 
half  of  black  beer  (porter)  and  half 
ale.  (See  Cooper.) 

Arfarfan'arf  (Peoples').  A  figure 
of  speech,  meaning  'drunk',  the  sub- 
stitution of  cause  for  effect,  the 
intoxication  being  the  latter,  '  arfarf- 
anarf  the  former.  It  may  be  thug 



explained,  arf '  =  half  pint  of;  arfanarf 
=  half  and  half- half  ale  and  half 
beer  =  half  and  half.  This  liquor  is 
fourpence  the  quart,  therefore,  the 
mystic  refreshment  is  called  for  as 
<arf  o'  four  d  arfanarf,  the  'd'  being 
used  to  express  pence  =  denarii.  Is 
used  to  describe  drunken  men,  e.g., 
'  'E's  very  arfarfanarf ' — really  meaning 
that  he  has  had  many  '  arfs '. 

Argol-bargol.  To  have  a  row. 
May  be  argue  turned  into  argol,  from 
the  old  term  'argil'  (see  the  Grave- 
digger  in  Hamlet),  corrupted  from 
'  ergo '.  The  '  bargol '  is  a  rhymed 
invention  following  a  common  habit. 
The  whole  term,  however,  is  pervaded 
apparently  by  depreciation: — 'Well 
— well — d'yer  want  ter  argol-bargol  ? ' 
Aristocratic  veins  (Theatrical). 
Blue  lines  of  colour  usually  frescoed 
on  the  temples,  and  sometimes  on  the 
backs  of  the  hands  and  wrists.  Sup- 
posed to  be  a  mark  of  high  and  noble 
birth.  Sometimes  adopted  by  women 
in  society.  '  Pass  me  the  smalt,  girl — 
I  want  to  put  in  my  veins.'  (See 
Mind  the  Paint.) 

Arkansas  tooth-pick  (Amer.).  A 
bowie-knife.  Arkansas  is  notorious 
for  sudden  blood-letting. 

And  he  jabbed  an  eighteen  Arkansas 
tooth-pick  into— whoever  it  happened  to 
be. — Mark  Twain. 

He  had  a  seductive  way  of  drawing 
his  18-inch  Arkansas  tooth-pick,  and 
examining  it  critically  with  a  sinister 
smile,  while  humbly  requesting  the 
temporary  loan  of  five  dollars.— Texas 

'Arrydom  (Soc.,  1885).  The 
kingdom  and  rule  of  'Any,  the  typical 
London  cad. 

It  seems  a  pity  that  the  Whitehall 
Review  did  not  confine  itself  to  saying, 
in  the  speech  of  'Arrydom,  'You're 
another,'  instead  of  appealing  to  a 
special  jury.— Sat.  Rev.,  26th  March 

'Arry's  Worrier  (Peoples',  1885  on). 
The  deadly  and  bronchitical  concertina 
common  to  'Arry's  hand,  and  as  deadly 
as  his  fist  or  his  '  Hinglish '. 

If  our  readers  are  inclined  to  be 
curious,  they  may,  on  further  investiga- 
tion, discover  the  player  of  "Arry's' 
favourite  '  worrier '  in  the  form  of  a 
patient-looking  little  lady,  who  sits  on 
the  stonework  of  the  railings  which 
guard  the  select  piece  of  grass  and  trees. 
—People,  19th  February  1897. 

'Arrico  Veins  (Common  people,  19 
cent.).  Varicose  veins. 

'  Bless  yer,  'arrico  veins  don't  kill.  I 
know  an  old  lady  o'  ninety-one,  an'  she's 
'ad  'era  these  forty  years.  Ill-conwenient, 
but  they  ain't  dangerous — on'y  a  leak.' 

Artful  Fox  (Music-hall,  1882).  A 
nonsense  rhyme  for  '  box '. 

You  capture  the  first  liker  at  him  in  a 
snug  artful  fox  at  some  chantin  ken  where 
there's  a  bona  varderin  serio  comic,  and 
Isle  of  Francer  engaged. — From  Bio- 
graphy of  the  Staff  Bundle  Courier,  the 
gentleman  who  accompanies  '  serio  - 
comics'  from  music-hall  to  music-hall 
when  '  doing  turns '. 

Artistic  Merit  (Society,  1882).  A 
satirical  criticism  of  a  flattering 
portrait.  A  celebrated  sculptors'  case 
(Belt  v.  Lawes,  1882)  brought  this 
term  into  a  general  use.  Belt  com- 
plained that  Lawes  had  said  of  him 
that  he  (Belt)  had  no  'artistic  merit,' 
and  that  all  his  many  busts  were 
artistically  finished  by  competent  men, 
commonly  called  '  studio  ghosts '. 
Belt  and  his  friends  maintained  that 
he  possessed  not  only  good  modelling 
power,  which  was  also  denied,  but 
finishing  power  also.  For  Lawes,  the 
then  President  of  the  Royal  Academy 
(Sir  F.  Leighton)  and  many  other 
eminent  art  followers  gave  evidence 
that  Belt  had  no  artistic  merit. 
Gradually,  during  a  long  trial  of  over 
forty  days,  the  public  grew  to  com- 
prehend that  in  sculpture  'artistic 
merit '  might  mean  the  use  of  flattering 
refinement  in  finish.  Hence  arose  the 
use  of  the  phrase  as  an  euphemism  for 

Sincerity  may  raise  a  costume  ball 
from  the  mere  pastime  of  an  evening 
to  an  undertaking  involving  culture, 
patience,  and  self-denial,  and  bring  about 
a  result  not  perhaps  without  'artistic 
merit'. — Newsp.  Cutting,  February  1885. 

Fancy  asking  a  policeman  to  decide 
upon  the  morality  or  immorality  of  a 
ballet !  You  might  as  well  ask  a  police- 
man to  pass  judgment  on  the  decency  of 
a  statue  of  Venus,  and  at  the  same  time 
to  criticise  its  'artistic  merits'. — Ref., 
llth  February  1883. 

Ashkenazic.  German  and  Polish 

Ash-plant  (Military,  1870).  Light, 
unvarnished,  un peeled,  rough-cut  ash 
swish,  for  carrying  in  the  hand. 
Subalterns  at  Dover  first  carried  these 
swishes,  value  about  Id.,  the  head 

Ask  Another 


formed  by  a  knot  got  at  a  branching. 
They  became  very  fashionable,  and 
soon,  owing  to  their  valuelessness, 
very  common.  Therefore,  after  a  time, 
they  were  mounted  in  gold  or  silver, 
the  swish  remaining  impeded,  and  in 
no  way  polished  or  varnished. 

Bringing  his  ash-plant  down  on  the 
counter  with  ten  Slade  force,  he  said, 
'  If  that's  the  sort  of  man  you  are,  I'm 
off  to  take  tea  with  Miss  Murnford.' 
And  he  offed.—  Bird  o'  Freedom,  7th 
March  1883. 

Ask  another  (Street,  1896  on).  A 
protest  against  a  reiterated  or  worn- 
out  joke,  an  expression  of  boredom ; 
directed  at  a  'chestnut',  e.g.,  'I  say, 
Joe,  when's  a  door  not  a  door  ? '  to 
which  Joe  disgustedly  replies,  'Oh, 
ask  another.' 

Aspect  (Lond.,  chiefly  Hatton 
Garden  district}.  A  look  of  eager  love. 
Used  chiefly  in  the  Italian  quarter, 
but  spreading.  Where  there  is  a 
foreign  colony  in  London,  as  French 
in  Soho,  Italian  in  Clerkenwell  Road, 
German  in  Clerkenwell,  the  English 
amongst  them,  to  some  extent 
fraternizing,  adopt  any  forcible  word 
or  phrase  used  by  them,  as,  for 
instance,  in  the  White  chapel  district 
the  Jewish  '  selah '  (God  be  with  you, 
or  good-bye)  has  become  '  so  long ',  a 
phrase  which  has  spread  all  over 
England.  Amongst  Italians  '  aspetto ' 
is  a  very  common  word.  Used  alone 
no  doubt  it  may  be  translated,  *  Hold 
on  a  bit ! '  but  it  retains  its  meaning 
'  look ',  '  aspect ',  and  it  is  this  trans- 
lation which  has  been  accepted  by  the 
observant  English  lower-middle-class 
in  the  Italian  district.  A  fiery  youth 
looking  too  fiercely  into  the  eyes  of  a 
gutter  donzella,  she  observes,  '  aspetto 
— aspetto  ! '  Her  English  sister  has 
accepted  the  word,  and  under  similar 
circumstances  cries,  '  Not  too  much 
aspect,  Tom  ! '  Applied  also  in  other 
ways,  e.g.,  'Well,  Jack,  not  too  much 
aspect,  or  you  might  run  agin  one  o' 
my  fists ! ' 

Aspinall  (Peoples').  Enamel.  Also 
as  a  verb.  From  Aspinall,  the 
inventor  and  manufacturer  of  an 
oxidized  enamel  paint. 

Astarrakan  (Street,  1890).  A 
jocular  mispronunciation  of  the 
astrachan  fur.  Used  satirically,  after 
Mr  Gus  Elen's  (1898)  song,  the  first 
line  of  the  chorus  running  : 

Astarrakan  at  the  bottom  of  my  coat. 

Atavism  (Society,  c.  1890-5).  The 
antithesis  of  decadent.  The  difference 
between  these  newly  meaninged  words 
is  very  marked.  The  decadent  may 
show  ability,  genius  even,  but  his  life 
demonstrates  that  he  is  in  a  general 
way  mentally,  morally,  and  physically 
inferior  to  his  forebears;  and,  as  a  rule, 
he  dies  childless,  or  his  children  have 
no  families.  The  atavist,  on  the  other 
hand,  is  a  human  being  who  is 
relegated  by  some  hidden  natural  force 
to  a  condition  assimilating  to  an  early 
form  of  mankind.  He  is  therefore,  as 
a  rule,  a  physical  improvement  upon 
his  immediate  or  modern  forebears,  and 
even  possibly  a  mental  superior — but 
morality  from  the  modern  standpoint 
has  little  or  no  existence  for  him.  He 
tends  to  the  animal  life — he  takes 
what  he  wants;  society  calls  him  a 
kleptomaniac  ;  plain  people  dub  him  a 
thief,  while  as  a  dipsomaniac  he  again 
imitates  the  mammal,  which,  once 
indulged  in  liquor,  becomes  a  hopeless 
drunkard.  An  atavist  may  become  a 
decadent ;  a  decadent  never  becomes 
an  atavist. 

Athletic  Drolls  (Music-hall,  1860 
on).  Comic  performers  whose  songs 
were  interspersed  with  gymnastic  feats. 
(See  Knockabout  Drolls,  Singing  Drolls.) 

Atlantic  Greyhounds  (Soc. ).  Quick 
Atlantic  steamers. 

The  booking  of  passengers  desirous  of 
securing  berths  on  board  one  or  other  of 
the  'Atlantic  greyhounds'  now  plying 
between  the  Old  and  New  Worlds  far 
exceeds  the  accommodation  available  for 
their  reception.— D.  T. ,  20th  May  1895. 

Attorney-General's  Devil  (Legal). 

He  was  chosen  by  Sir  John  Holker, 
whose  practical  shrewdness  was  seldom 
at  fault,  to  succeed  the  present  Lord 
Justice  Bowen  as  junior  counsel  to  the 
Treasury,  commonly  called  '  Attorney- 
General's  Devil  '.—Newsp.  Gutting,  1883. 

The  working  barrister  who  does  the 
heavy  work  of  a  K.C.  or  other  legal 
big-wig  is  generally  called  a  '  devil '. 
But  the  term  is  dying  out  owing  to 
increased  legal  amenities. 

Auctioneer  (Peoples').  The  fist — 
because  it  '  knocks  down  '. 

Milo,  the  boxer,  was  an  accomplished 
man.  He  did  not,  however,  use  the 
sculptor's  hammer,  but  rather  the 
'auctioneer  '  of  the  late  Mr  Thomas 
Savers.— D.  N. 

Auditorium  (Press,  1870).  The 
portion  of  a  theatre  occupied  by  the 


Aunt  Sally 

Ay  de  mi 

audience — called  the  theatre  until 
Dion  Boucicault  took  '  Astley's ',  spoilt 
the  ceiling  by  cutting  ventilating  holes 
in  it,  and  then  wrote  a  long  letter  to 
the  Times  in  which  he  spoke  of  the 
improvements  he  had  made  in  'the 
auditorium'.  The  word  was  at  once 
accepted  with  much  laughter.  Now 
used  seriously. 

Some  time  before  the  curtain  rose 
large  crowds  of  seat-seekers  might  have 
been  observed  surging  down  the  tunnels 
that  lead  to  the  auditorium  of  this  house 
(Opera  Comique,  now  swept  away). — 
Jief.,  14th  June  1885. 

Aunt  Sally  (Low  London).  A 
black-faced  doll.  Early  in  the  century 
the  sign  of  a  rag-shop ;  afterwards 
adopted  as  an  entrancing  cock-shy,  a 
pipe  either  forming  the  nose  or  being 
placed  between  the  teeth.  From  Black 
Sail  and  Dusty  Bob,  characters  in  the 
elder  Pierce  Egan's  Life  in  London, 
and  probably  adopted  owing  to  the 
popularity  of  that  work,  precisely  as 
in  a  later  generation  many  of  Dickens's 
characters  were  associated  with  trade 
advertisements.  Aunt  Sally  is  vanish- 
ing, even  at  race-courses.  Soon,  but 
for  a  portrait,  she  will  be  only  a 
memory.  Very  significant  of  Pierce 
Egan's  popularity,  which  from  1820  to 
1840  was  as  great  as  that  of  Dickens, 
whose  fame  threw  Egan  into  obscurity. 

Aunt's  sisters  (London  Middle-class). 
A  foolish  perversion  of  '  ancestors '. 

Corrie  Koy  was  once  more  restored  to 
the  home  of  his  aunt's  sisters. — Qomic 

Away  (London  Thieves'  Etiquette). 
A  man  is  never  spoken  of  as  '  in  prison ', 
though  he  is  there  for  many  a  'stretch*. 
It  would  evince  great  want  of  etiquette 
to  mention  the  detaining  locality,  e.g., 
'Mine's  away,  bless  'is  'art,'  the  grass- 
widow  of  lower  life  will  say,  as  indica- 
tive that  her  husband  is  in  jail.  The 
answer  should  be,  '  A  'appy  return  'ome 
to  'im,  mum.' 

'Awkins  (Lower  Classes,  1880  on). 
A  severe  man,  one  not  to  be  trifled 
with.  Name-word  from  the  Judge, 
then  Sir  Frederic  Hawkins,  who  about 
this  time  impressed  the  lower  and 
criminal  classes  as  a  'hanging' judge, 
e.g.,  'Joe,  don't  you  play  around  Tom 
Barr — Vs  a  'Awkins,  and  no  mistake.' 

'Awkins  (Mid- London,  1905).  A 
princely  coster  monger.  From  a  music - 


hall  song  sung  by  Albert  Chevalier, 
with  the  catch  line,  '  And  'Enery 
'Awkins  is  a  first-class  name'. 

And,  indeed,  if  not  in  Walworth, 
where  should  Mr  Hawkins  be  supreme  ? 
It  is  the  epical  home,  so  to  speak,  of  his 
race — a  district  traversed  by  that  Old 
Kent-road  in  which  their  lyric  hero 
'  knocked '  the  passers-by  with  the  un- 
expected splendours  of  his  attire  and 
turn-out.  Disestablishment  is  not  under- 
stood to  trouble  his  repose,  and  the 
downfall  of  the  Welsh  Church  would 
probably  leave  him  as  unmoved  as  the 
just  man  in  Horace,  so  long  as  the 
'  Harp '  of  the  same  nationality  continues 
to  open  its  hospitable  doors  to  himself 
and  Mrs  Hawkins  on  their  'Sundays 
out'.— D.  T.,  14th  May  1895. 

Axe  to  grind  (Amer.-Engl.).  I.e., 
a  personal  end  to  serve,  originally  a 
favour  to  ask  ;  from  men  in  backwoods 
pretending  to  want  to  grind  their  axes 
when  in  reality  they  required  a  drink. 
Mr  Ebbs,  an  American  etymologist, 
says  that  the  origin  of  this  phrase  has 
been  attributed  to  Benjamin  Franklin. 
It  is  true,  many  of  his  sayings  in  Poor 
Richard  bear  a  striking  similarity  to 
the  saying  ;  still,  not  one  of  them  can 
be  tortured  into  the  above  phrase. 

Every  one  seems  to  have  had  what  the 
Americans  call  '  an  axe  to  grind '. — 
Yates,  Recollections  (1884). 

Finally,  Mr  Irving  stepped  forward, 
and  in  a  voice  trembling  with  emotion, 
bade  farewell  to  his  American  friends. 
He  said  among  other  things:  'Now 
that  I  can  speak  without  fear  or  favour, 
and  without  the  suspicion  that  I  have  an 
axe  to  grind,  I  can  say  for  the  first  time 
how  deeply  grateful  we  are  for  the 
innumerable  acts  of  kindness  received 
from  the  American  people.' — Newsp. 
Cutting,  April  1885. 

Conservatives  with  axes  to  grind  will 
soon  make  the  word  Beaconsh'eld  as 
wearisome  by  mere  iteration  as  the  word 
Jubilee.— D.  N.,  7th  April  1887. 

Axe-grinders  (American}.  Men 
who  grumble,  especially  politically. 

Willard's  Hotel  was  closed,  and,  even 
if  it  had  not  been,  with  its  clientele  of  bar- 
loafers,  swaggerers,  drunkards,  and  axe- 
grinders  (a  class  of  politicians  peculiar  to 
Washington  hotels),  it  would  not  have 
been  the  place  for  Mr  Dickens  in  his 
state  of  health. — Dolby,  Dickens  as  I 
knew  him, 

Ay  de  mi,  sometimes  Ay  de  my 
(Hist.).  It  pervades  all  Western 
European  literature.  It  is  found  in 


Back  Answers 

Tom  Cringle's  Log,  also  in  Gil  Bias, 
bk.  xi.  5. 

Ay  de  my  !  un  anno  felice 

Parece  un  soplo  ligero  ; 

Per6  fin  dicha  un  instante 

Es  un  siglo  de  tormento. 
Smollett     translates      the     phrase 
'alas'.       It    was    Carlyle's    favourite 
protest,   and   is   found  frequently  in 
Froude's  biography  of  him  : 

The  dinners,  routs,  callers,  confusions 
inevitable  to  a  certain  length.  Ay  de  mi 
— I  wish  I  was  far  from  it. 

It  was  probably  brought  to  England 
by  Catherine  of  Braganza.  (See  'Oh 
dear  me  ! ') 


B's.  (Fenian,  1883).  Patriotic 
Brotherhood.  In  questionable  taste. 
The  members  of  the  Patriotic  Brother- 
hood, or  Irish  Invincibles,  thus  styled 
themselves.  It  may  have  had  some 
absurd  association  with  the  '  busy  bee '. 

Patrick  Duffy  was  sworn,  and  deposed 
— Finnegan  and  Devlin  were  at  a  meet- 
ing of  the  society  held  in  the  spring  of 
1881.  I  knew  James  Hauratty  and 
Patrick  Geogeghan,  who  were  both  'B's'.  • 
—Report  of  the  Patriotic  Brotherhood 
Conspiracy  (Trial  at  Belfast,  26th  March 

B.C.  play  (Theatrical,  1885). 
Classical  drama ;  Before  Christ.  In- 
vented apropos  to  Claudian  (Princess's 

The  authors  are  wise  to  eschew  low 
comedy.  There  wasn't  much  of  it  in  the 
time  of  Pericles.  George  cannot  come  in 
and  talk  about  milking  his  hay  and 
mowing  his  cows  as  he  did  in  '  Claudian '. 
One  of  our  best  low  comedians,  he  is  not 
at  home  in  a  B.C.  period. — Ref.,  28th 
March  1886. 

B.H.  (Peoples',  1880).  Bank 

B.  K. 's  (Military}.  Barracks.  _  Used 
by  officers,  non-coms.,  and  privates, 
down  to  the  drummer-boy.  (See  H.  Q.) 

B.P.  (Theatrical).  British  Public. 
(See  Pub.) 

'  Have  you  read  Leader's  manifesto  on 
taking  possession  of  Her  Majesty's 
Theatre?'  'We  have,  and  feel  sure 
there's  a  good  time  coming  for  the 
B.P.'— Bird  o'  Freedom,  1883. 

Harvey  writes  and  arranges,   not  to 

please  me,  who  don't  pay,  but  the 
B.P.,  who  do.— Ref.,  9th  August  1 

'  My  dear  Wilfred,— They  tell  me  you 
are  in  a  wax  about  the  exceptions  I  took 
to  your  article.  I  am  extremely  sorry  to 
touch  any  line  of  yours,  but  B.P.  must 
be  considered,  you  know  ! ' — Ouida,  An 
Altruist,  1896. 

B.  and  P.  (Land.).  Initials  of  two 
young  men  whose  public  proceedings 
resulted,  about  1870,  in  a  long  police- 
court  inquiry  and  trial.  (See  Beanpea. ) 

B  Flat  (Peoples').  Proof  of  advance 
of  education,  being  a  sort  of  pun  lying 
between  si  bemol  or  B  flat,  and  an 
intimate  insect  (now  rapidly  being 
evicted  by  a  survival  of  the  fittest), 
which  has  been  too  fatally  associated 
with  the  family  of  Norfolk  Howard 

Baby  (Tavern,  1875).  The  con- 
viction amongst  men  given  to  creature- 
comforts  that  the  cheapest  soda  and 
spirits  refresher  rose  to  sixpence  at  least, 
led  the  serated  water  manufacturers  to 
invent  the  half-bottle  (2d. ),  which  from 
its  small  size  was  dubbed  '  baby '  by  all 
men.  '  Give  me  a  baby  lemonade ' 
was  understood  by  all  barmaids,  who 
never  blushed.  The  term  has  lapsed. 

Baby  and  Nurse  (Tavern,  1876). 
A  small  bottle  of  soda-water  and  two- 
penny-worth of  spirit  in  it.  This  is 
the  nurse.  Accepted  terms  even  by 
queens  of  the  taps  and  handles.  Where 
more  than  '  two '  of  spirits  is  required 
numerals  come  by  their  own  again. 
The  phrase  has  lapsed. 

Baby's  public-house  (Peoples'). 
Nature's  fount. 

Among  them  is  a  six-year-old  baby 
that  is  suckled  at  the  breast  when  it  asks 
for  baby's  public-house,  and  that  fills  up 
the  intervals  between  refreshment  by 
smoking  cigarettes.  Fact ! — Ref.,  5th 
October  1884. 

Bab'sky  (Liverpool).  Corruption  of 
Bay  o'  Biscay. 

The  place  where  the  arch  was  erected 
is  about  the  most  exposed  part  of  the 
town  when  the  wind  is  high,  and  in 
consequence  is  generally  styled  the 
<  Bab'sky  '.—Newsp.  Cutting,  May  1886. 

Back  answers  (C.  Eng.,  19  cent.). 
Sharp  retorts,  quick-tongued  replies, 
dorsal  eructations,  without  any  conces- 
sion to  the  laws  of  etiquette. 

He  went  to  the  station  and  gave  no 
'  cheek '  or  '  back-answers '  to  any  one. — 

Back  down 

Bad  Egg 

Back  down  (American).     To  yield. 

If  we  may — we  indicate  an  apologetic 
foreign  policy  by  remarking  that  the 
Government  '  backs  down '. 

That  is  to  say,  '  makes  a  back ',  as 
boys  at  leap-frog,  to  enable  the  other 
players  to  get  over. 

Back-hairing  (Street}.  Feminine 
fighting,  in  which  the  occipital  locks 
suffer  severely. 

His  Honour  said  no  doubt  there  had 
been  a  great  deal  of  provocation,  but  the 
rule  was  when  a  woman  had  her  back 
hair  pulled  down  and  her  face  scratched, 
she  back-haired  and  scratched  in  return. 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Back-hair  parts  (Theatrical}. 
Roles  in  which  the  agony  of  the 
performance  at  one  point  in  the  drama 
admits  of  the  feminine  tresses  in 
question  floating  over  the  shoulders. 

Like  the  famous  lady  who  never  would 
undertake  any  but  'back-hair'  parts, 
the  Parisian  comedienne  could  only  with 
difficulty  be  prevailed  upon  to  become 
a  stage  heroine  whose  garments  have  to 
express  the  depths  of  an  unpicturesque 
poverty.— D.  N.,  November  1884. 

Back  o'  the  green  (Theatre  and 
Music-hall}.  This  is  a  sort  of  rebus, 
the  *  green '  being  an  imperfect  rhyme 
for  'scenes',  also  referring  to  that 
historical  'green'  curtain  which  has 
now  almost  passed  away.  It  represents 
'  behind  the  scenes '. 

Back  row  hopper  (Theatrical}. 
Chiefly  used  in  taverns  affected  by  the 
commoner  members  of  *  the  profession '. 
'  He's  a  back  row  hopper '  is  said  of  an 
impecunious  man  who  enters  one  of 
these  houses  on  the  pretence  of  looking 
for  somebody,  and  the  certain  hope  of 
finding  somebody  ready  and  willing  to 
pay  for  a  drink. 

Back  slang  it  ( Thieves1 }.  To  go  out 
the  back  way. 

Back-scene  (Devonshire).  Literal. 
The  second  word  direct  from  the 
French  'seant,',  and  an  interesting 
example  of  evasive  French- English — 
found  only  in  Devon. 

Backs,  The  (Cambridge).  Literally 
the  backs  of  several  of  the  greater 
colleges,  notably  Trinity  and  John's — 
seen  from  the  opposite  side  of  the  Cam. 

St  Andrews  boasts  her  links,  Oban  is 
proud  of  her  bay,  Cambridge  has  her 
'backs',  and  whoever  visited  Liverpool 
without  hearing  of  her  docks  ? — D.  N. 

Backsheesh  (Anglo-Arabic).  Bribe. 
The  origin  of  this  word  is  historical. 
When  Mohamed  Ali  endeavoured,  after 
his  lights,  to  bring  Egypt  within  the 
pale  of  civilization,  he  sought  to  abate 
the  endless  begging  exercised  by  most 
of  his  subjects.  To  this  end  he  assured 
his  people  that  if  they  did  not  beg, 
foreigners  would  always  make  them  a 
backsheesh,  or  'present'.  The  natives 
accepted  the  theory,  but  only  to  apply 
it  to  their  old  practice.  They  begged, 
as  they  beg  to  this  day,  as  much  as 
ever  ;  but  they  made  their  entreaties 
elegant  by  asking  for  a  backsheesh — 
the  one  word  of  Arabic  that  every 
Englishman  in  Egypt  learns,  even  if 
he  acquire  no  other. 

The  people  who  talk  of  bribery  and 
'backsheesh'  in  such  circumstances  are 
imperfectly  informed  as  to  desert 
customs  and  slang.  To  give  a  Sheikh 
who  gets  for  you  a  hundred  camels,  say 
£60,  is  not  an  act  of  bribery.  It  is 
merely  paying  him  a  commission. — 
D.  N.t  16th  March  1883. 

Bad  cess  to  ye !  (Irish).  Cess — board 
and  lodging.  An  amiable  Celtic  bene- 
diction. An  Act  of  Parliament  was 
passed  during  Strafford's  viceroyalty 
*  for  the  better  regulating  of  Ireland ', 
wherein  we  find  these  words :  '  Whereas 
there  are  many  young  gentlemen  of 
this  kingdom  (Ireland),  that  have 
little  or  nothing  to  live  on  of  their 
own,  and  will  not  apply  themselves  to 
labour,  but  live  coshering  on  the 
country,  cessing  themselves  and  their 
followers,  their  horses  and  their  grey- 
hounds, upon  the  poorer  inhabitants,' 
etc.,  etc.  This  phrase  is  in  common 
use  in  England — where  the  two  words 
are  supposed  to  mean  ill-luck,  as 
indeed  they  do,  e.g.,  '  Bad  cess  to  you, 
Joe — wherever  you  go  ! ' 

Bad  crowd  (Calif or nian).  A  man 
of  indifferent  character. 

She  then  went  out  to  tell  the  feminine 
convention  on  the  back  stoop  what  a  bad 
crowd  Jabez  used  to  be  when  he  kept  a 
chicken-ranch  on  the  Stanislaus  in  '51. — 
San  Francisco  Mail. 

Bad  egg  (Peoples').  A  person  hope- 
lessly beyond  cure,  perfectly  disreput- 
able. Originally  American,  though  no 
longer  used  in  the  U.S.  Colloquial  in 

A  man  out  West,  by  the  name  of 
Thomas  Egg,  having  committed  some 
crime,  his  neighbours  gave  him  the 


Bad  Form 

Bag  and  Baggage 

appellation  of  a  '  bad  Egg  ',  which,  in  its 
application  to  vice,  with  man,  woman,  or 
child,  they  are  invariably  called  bad 
eggs.  It  is  also  used  to  denote  a  good 
man,  by  calling  him  a  good  egg.  And 
this  is  used  either  to  denote  his  moral  or 
pecuniary  standing. — American  Paper. 

Bad  form  (Soc.,  1860  on).  The 
opposite  of  Correct  Fashion.  Derived 
from  the  racing  stable. 

The  very  low  bodices  of  some  seasons 
ago  are  now  considered  '  bad  form '  (a 
quite  untranslatable  phrase). — D.  N., 
'  Dresses  for  dances ',  15th  December 

This  ingenious  piece  of  tactics  in 
taking  cover  was  looked  upon  as  '  bad 
form ',  even  by  the  other  hill  men,  who 
appreciated  the  scruples  of  British 
humanity. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

(See  No  class). 

Bad  hat  (Middle-class,  19  cent.).  A 
queer  chum,  dissatisfactory  mess-mate, 
disreputable  person.  Probably  Irish, 
from  the  worst  Hiberian  characters 
always  wearing  bad  high  hats  (caps 
are  not  recognised  in  kingly  Ireland). 

What  a  shocking  bad  hat !  is  the  next 
cry,  with  something  of  an  historical 
flavour  about  it,  that  I  can  recollect. 
The  observation  is  not  yet  wholly  extinct, 
I  should  say,  although  its  meaning  has 
entirely  vanished  from  the  public  ken ; 
but,  according  to  Sir  William  Fraser,  in 
his  Words  on  Wellington,  the  origin  of 
this  derisive  criticism  on  a  gentleman's 
head -gear  was  as  follows :  '  When  the  first 
Reform  Parliament  met,  the  Duke  went 
into  the  Peers'  Gallery  of  the  House  of 
Commons — Sir  William  Fraser  says  that 
it  was  the  Bar,  but  this  part  of  his  state- 
ment is  due,  I  should  say,  to  a  slip  of  the 
pen— to  survey  the  members.  Expect- 
ing, of  course  to  be  questioned,  and 
knowing  that  his  words  would  be 
repeated,  the  Duke,  prompt  as  usual, 
was  ready  for  the  inquisition  ;  and  when 
asked,  on  walking  back  to  the  House  of 
Lords,  what  he  thought  of  the  new 
Parliament,  he  evaded  responsibility  by 
saying,  "  I  never  saw  so  many  shocking 
bad  hats  in  my  life."  The  catchword 
soon  lost  its  political  associations,  and 
after  a  few  years,  was  merged  in  the 
purely  imbecile  query,  ' '  Who's  your 
hatter  ?'"— G.  A.  Sala,  in  D.  T.,  28th 
July  1894. 

Bad  Shilling  (Common).  The  last, 
e.g.,  'That's  a  bad  shillin',  that  is,  for 
there  ain't  another  beyinde  it,  you 

Bad  young  man  (L.  Peoples',  1881). 
Antithesis  to  Good  Young  Man  (q.v.). 

That  the  fatted  calf,  who  had  never 
been  a  prodigal,  should  suffer  death  in 
honour  of  the  bad  young  man  has  never 
seemed  to  me  strict  dramatic  justice. — 
Ref.,  18th  January  1885. 

Badger,  to  (Peoples').  To  worry. 
From  worrying  a  badger  in  his  hole 
until  he  comes  out  to  show  fight.  (See 
Draw.)  It  forms  a  remarkable  ex- 
ample of  complete  inversion  of  the 
original  meaning,  for  it  was  the  badger 
which  was  worried — he  was  never  the 
worrier.  Nowadays  he  is  the  aggressor. 

Immediately  after  the  explosion  at  the 
House  of  Commons  on  Saturday  I  went 
to  see  'the  scene'.  Thanks  to  the 
courtesy  of  the  officials  in  charge — sorely 
badgered  by  M.P.'s,  peers,  and  public 
persons,  who  had  come  out  of  idle  curi- 
osity— I  was  able  to  make  a  thorough 
inspection  both  of  the  House  and  of 
Westminster  Hall.—  Ref.,  1st  February 
1885.  (See  also  G.O.M.) 

Badges  and  Bulls'  eyes  (Army, 
1899).  In  the  Boer  Revolt  (October 
1899),  the  officers'  medals  and  badges 
offered  fatal  bulls'  eyes  for  the  Bore 

The  question  has  been  much  discussed 
whether,  in  view  of  the  terrible  gaps 
made  in  the  roll  of  officers,  they  were  not 
even  yet  too  much  marked  out  as  Boer 
targets  by  what  General  Gatacre  called 
badges  and  bulls'  eyes.— D.  T.,  21st 
December  1899. 

Bag  o'  Beer.  (Lowest  people's). 
Bacchanalian  brevity — for  it  means, 
and  nothing  else  than  a  quart — half  of 
fourpenny  porter  and  half  of  fourpenny 
ale.  This  once  stood  '  pot  o'  four  'arf 
an'  'arf,  reduced  to  'four  'arf,  and 
thence  to  '  bag  o'  beer '. 

Bags  o'  Mystery.  (Peoples').  A 
satirical  term  for  sausages,  because  no 
man  but  the  maker  knows  what  is  in 

'If  they're  going  to  keep  running-in 
polony  fencers  for  putting  rotten  gee- 
gee  into  the  bags  of  mystery,  I  hope 
they  won't  leave  fried-fish-pushers  alone.' 

This  term  took  its  rise  about  1850, 
long  before  the  present  system  of 
market-inspection  was  organised.  But 
this  term  remained  long  after  sausages 
were  fairly  wholesome.  The  'bag' 
refers  to  the  gut  which  contained  the 
chopped  meat. 

Bag  and  Baggage.  Thoroughly, 
completely.  It  once  more  became 
popular  from  a  phrase  in  a  speech  by 
Gladstone  in  reference  to  the  Turk  in 


Bagger,  Bag-thief 


Europe,  whom  he  recommended  should 
be  turned  out   of   Europe   *  bag  and 

The  truth  of  the  matter  is  that  all  the 
petty  States  which  won  over  the  sym- 
pathies of  sentimental  politicians  by  their 
eternal  whinings  against  that  '  big  bully, 
the  Turk ',  have  proved  themselves  past 
masters  in  the  art  of  oppressing  minorities, 
now  that  the  tables  have  turned.  They 
would  like  to  carry  into  effect  the  '  bag 
and  baggage '  theory,  and  make  a  clean 
sweep  of  foreigners,  to  whatever  race  or 
religion  these  latter  may  belong. — D,  T., 
13th  August  1885. 

Bagger,  Bag-thief.  (Thieves').  A 
stealer  of  rings  by  seizing  the  hand. 
Possibly  from  the  French  'bague',  a 

Baiard  (Peoples').  A  good  fellow. 
Still  now  and  again  heard  in  the 
provinces  ;  of  course  from  Bayard,  the 
chevalier  '  sans  peur  et  sans  reproche '. 

'Thou'rt  a  real  baiard — thou  art. 
How  now,  mates,  what  baiards  have  we 
here  ? ' — Garrick,  Abel  Drugger. 

Bailiff  of  Marsham  (Fens,  17  cent.}. 

There  was  so  much  water  constantly 
lying  about  Ely,  that  in  olden  times  the 
Bishop  of  Ely  was  accustomed  to  go  in 
his  boat  to  Cambridge.  When  the  out- 
falls of  the  Ouse  became  choked,  the 
surrounding  districts  were  subject  to 
severe  inundations ;  and  after  a  heavy  fall 
of  rain,  or  after  a  thaw  in  winter,  when 
the  river  swelled  suddenly,  the  alarm 
spread  abroad— 'The  Bailiff  of  Bedford 
is  coming ' — the  Ouse  passing  through 
that  town.  But  there  was  even  a  more 
terrible  bailiff  than  he  of  Bedford,  for 
when  a  man  was  stricken  down  by  the 
ague,  it  was  said  of  him,  he  is  arrested 
by  the  Bailiff  of  Marsham,  this  disease 
extensively  prevailing  all  over  the 
district  when  the  poisoned  air  of  the 
marshes  began  to  work. — Smiles,  Lives  of 
the  Engineers. 

A  fine  example  of  passing  English 
being  helped  by  old  phrases,  for  when 
the  draining  of  the  fens  had  been 
practically  accomplished,  ague  ceased 
as  an  endemic  disease.  The  term, 
however,  is  still  heard  now  and  again 
at  any  point  between  Boston  in  the 
north  and  Chelmsford  in  the  south. 
It  is  metaphorically  used  to  suggest 
approaching  death. 

Baked  dinner  (Jocose,  Prison,  1 9  cent. ), 
Bread — which  is  baked.  The  phrase 
was  habitually  used  at  Bridewell,  this 
prison  having  been  utilized  until  quite 

recently  as  a  place  of  detention  rather 
than  as  a  prison  for  the  punishment  of 
troublesome  city  apprentices  bound  to 
freed  men  of  the  City  of  London. 
They  were  taken  before  the  City 
Chamberlain,  who  in  extreme  cases 
sent  the  youngsters  to  Bridewell,  in 
Bridge  Street,  Blackfriars,  where  a 
painting  or  two  of  Hogarth's  are  still 
to  be  found.  Here  the  offenders  were 
kept  in  honourable  durance  for  a  fort- 
night or  more  without  labour,  their 
only  punishment  being  the  absence  of 
liberty.  It  was  upon  these  neophytes 
that  the  trick  was  played  of  telling 
them  that  they  were  to  have  '  Baked 
Dinner'.  Their  disappointment,  and 
the  explanation  of  the  term  afforded 
huge  merriment,  reiterated  on  every 
possible  occasion. 

Baker's  Dozen.  Thirteen — grimly 
used  fora  family  of  twelve  and  another. 

The  '  baker's  dozen ',  meaning  thirteen, 
dates  back  to  the  time  of  Edward  I., 
when  very  rigid  laws  were  enacted 
regarding  the  sale  of  bread  by  bakers. 
The  punishment  for  falling  short  in  the 
sale  of  loaves  by  the  dozen  was  so  severe 
that,  in  order  to  run  no  risk,  the  bakers 
were  accustomed  to  give  thirteen  or 
fourteen  loaves  to  the  dozen,  and  thus 
arose  this  peculiar  expression. — Newsp. 

Balaclava  (1856-60).  A  full  beard, 
first  seen  upon  the  faces  of  the  English 
army  upon  their  return  to  England 
from  Crimea.  The  new  departure  was 
instantly  dubbed  with  the  name  of  the 
most  popular  of  the  three  great  battles 
(Alma,  Balaclava,  Inkermann),  the  name 
probably  being  chosen  by  reason  of  the 
brilliancy  of  the  charge  of  the  Light 
Brigade.  French  writers  who  had 
visited  the  Great  Exhibition  of  1851, 
and  who  had  been  struck  by  the 
absolute  absence  of  the  moustache 
(except  in  the  case  of  some  military 
men),  and  the  utter  absence  of  the  beard, 
without  exception,  were  astonished 
upon  return  visits  half-a-dozen  years 
afterwards,  to  find  Englishmen  were 
bearded  like  the  pard.  Britons  upon 
the  principle  of  reaction  always  going 
the  whole  hog,  grew  all  the  hair  they 
could,  and  the  mere  moustache  of 
Frenchmen  was  nowhere  in  the  fight. 
Interestingly  enough,  exactly  as  the 
wild,  unkempt  beard  of  '  The  Terror ' 
dwindled  into  the  moustache  for  the 
young,  and  the  cStelette  (mutton-chop) 
for  the  elderly,  so  the  Balaclava  (which 



Bang  (To) 

abated  the  razor,  as  a  daily  protesting 
sacrifice  to  anti-gallicanism)  toned 
down  by  '70,  into  the  various  beards 
of  to-day— the  Peaked,  the  Spade,  the 
Square,  and  other  varieties  of  Tudor 
beards.  These  remained  until  the 
Flange,  or  Dundreary  (see  1872-73),came 
in  and  cleared  the  chin,  to  be  followed 
by  the  Scraper.  To-day  the  'York' 
prevails — the  short,  pointed  beard  still 
worn  by  the  Prince  of  Wales. 

Bald-head  (American).  An  old 

The  house-fly  flies  an  average  of  three 
miles  per  day.  He  can't  be  biting  babies 
and  bald  heads  all  the  time,  you  know. — 
Texas  Sif  tings. 

Byron  used  this  term  contemptuously 
in  The  Two  Foscari,  Act  iii.,  sc.  1. 
MARINA.— 'Held  in  the  bondage  of  ten 
bald  heads,' — referring  to  the  Council  of 

Bald-headed  Butter  (Com. 
London).  Butter  free  from  hairs. 
First  publicly  heard  in  a  police-court 
case,  where  the  satire  had  led  an 
indignant  cheesemonger  to  take  law 
in  his  own  hands. 

'  Waiter,  I'll  take  a  bit  of  bald-headed 
butter,  if  you  please.' 

Bailey,  To  ( Com.  Lond. ).  To  be  off, 
e.g.,  'I  thought  it  was  time  to  be  off, 
so  I  balleyed.'  (See  Skip,  Valse,  Polka.) 

Balloon  (Tailors').  A  week's  en- 
forced idleness  from  want  of  work. 
French,  Ulan,  officially  a  balance-sheet 
book,  figuratively  a  sentence,  con- 

Balloon-juice  (Public-house,  1883). 
Soda-water  ;  presumably  suggested  by 
its  gassy  nature. 

It's  as  good  as  a  bottle  of  balloon- juice 
after  a  night's  hard  boozing. — Newsp. 

Balloon-juice  Lowerer.  A  total 
abstainer,  the  '  lowerer '  from  the  use 
of  '  to  lower  '  for  '  to  swallow '. 

To  be  a  booze  fencer  now,  is  to  be  a 
mark  for  every  balloon-juice  lowerer  who 
can't  take  a  drop  of  beer  or  spirits 
without  making  a  beast  of  himself. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Bally  (Sporting,  1884  on).  Ex- 
cessive, great.  Perhaps  an  evasion  of 

'  Too  bad,  too  bad !  after  getting 
fourteen  days  or  forty  bob,  the  bally  rag 
don't  even  mention  it.  I  shall  turn 
teetotal '....'  Has  that  bally  Ptolemy 
won,  d'ye  know?  What  price  did  he 
start  at ? '  .  .  .  'If  you  had  been  born 


an  elephant  instead  of  a  bally  jackass, 
you  would  have  had  your  trunk  on  the 
end  of  your  nose,  when  you  could  have 
seen  to  it  yourself .  '—Sporting  Times. 
llth  April  1885. 

Balmedest  Balm  (Low  London). 
Balm  in  the  extreme. 

'  It  is  just  a  little  the  balmedest  balm 
you  ever  plastered  on  your  love-stricken 
heart.  Try  it,  Annetta ;  and  don't  be 
afraid  of  it ;  spread  it  on  thick. ' — Newsp. 

Balsam  (Sporting}.  Money.  From 
both  medicaments  being  of  such  an 
agreeable  character.  Originally  con- 
fined to  dispensing  chemists. 

Ban  (Com.  Irish,  18  cent.  on).  Lord- 
Lieutenant.  There  is  a  supposed 
association  between  'ban',  curse  or 
edict,  and  '  banshee ',  the  precursor  of 
sorrow.  Still  in  use,  e.g.,  '  Bedad,  one 
ban  or  anoder,  'tis  the  same  man. ' 

Banbury  (London,  1894).  One  of 
the  more  recent  shapes  of  'jam', 
'biscuit',  'cake',  'confectionery',  'tart' 
(qq.v.)  — a  loose  woman. 

Witness  took  several  names  and 
addresses,  and  some  of  the  females 
described  themselves  as  'Banburys'; 
and  said  they  got  their  living  as  best 
they  could. — Eaid  on  the  Gardenia  Club, 
The  People,  4th  February  1894. 

Baned  (Prov. ).  Poisoned,  e.g. ,  <  I'll 
have  'ee  baned  like  a  rat.'  Abbrevia- 
tion of  henbane. 

What  if  my  house  is  troubled  with  a 

And    I    be    pleased    to    give    ten 
thousand  ducats 

To  have  it  baned  ? 

— Merchant  of  Venice,  Act  iv. 

Banded  (Low  London).  Hungry. 
May  be  Romany,  or  literal,  hunger 
pressing  like  a  band  on  the  stomach, 
e.g.,  'I've  been  fair  banded  all  the 
blooming  week.' 

Bang  (S.  Exchange).  To  loudly 
and  plentifully  offer  a  certain  stock 
with  the  intention  of  lowering  its  price. 

When  any  adventurers  —  call  them 
bears  or  bulls,  or  any  other  animals — 
start  to  bang  the  shares,  do  not  lend 
yourself  to  the  game  they  are  playing  ; 
sit  close  on  your  shares. — D.  T.,  2nd 
June  1898. 

Bang;  (To)  (Fashion,  1870-95).  Mode 
of  dressing  the  hair  in  a  line  of  fixed 
curls  over  the  forehead.  Chiefly  used 
by  women  in  England.  Introduced  by 
the  then  Princess  of  Wales.  Commonly 
called  to  '  fringe '  the  hair. 

An  American  lady  has  written :  '  If  for 

Bang  Mary 

Banyan  Day 

a  few  brief  hours  of  triumphant  bang  you 
are  willing  to  undergo  a  long  night  of 
anguish,  roll  three  rows  of  these  wooden 
fire-crackers  in  your  perfumed  tresses.' — 
D.  N.,  21st  October  1886. 

The  man  who  bangs  his  hair  hasn't 
enough  sense  to  blow  out  his  brains,  even 
if  he  possessed  any. — N.  Y.  Commerc. 

This  fashion  at  last  gave  way  (1895) 
to  '  undulated  bands '  covering  the 
forehead,  and,  more  fashionably,  also 
the  ears. 

Bang  Mary  (Kitchen).  The 
English  cook's  translation  of  'bain 
Marie',  the  small  saucepans  within 
another  saucepan  of  boiling  water,  an 
apparatus  devised  by  a  French  cook 
named  Marie.  This  obvious  simplifica- 
tion of  French  is  a  good  example  of  the 
vulgar  habit  of  fitting  foreign  words  to 
well-known  English  ones  of  something 
like  similar  sound  ('  folk-etymology '). 

Bang  through  the  Elephant 
(Low  London).  A  finished  course  of 
dissipation,  as  thus :  drunk  rhymed 
into  elephant's  trunk,  abbrev.  to 

'You're  no  fool,  don't  you  know, 
you're  up  to  slum ;  been  right  bang 
through  the  elephant.' 

Bang  Up  (Low  London).  First- 
class,  superior.  '  Bang '  probably  from 
the  commanding  cry  of  a  cannon  or 
gun,  while  '  up '  is  always  an  aspiring 
adverb,  or  even  verb.  However, '  bang ' 
may  be  a  vivid  translation  of  '  bien  ', 
an  exclamation  certainly  used  at  the 
court  of  Charles  II. 

Bang  up  to  the  Elephant  (London, 
1882).  Perfect,  complete,  unapproach- 
able. The  '  Elephant '  ( '  Elephant  and 
Castle  Tavern,'  South  London),  had  for 
years  been  the  centre  of  South  London 
tavern-life  when  (1882)  Jumbo,  an 
exceptionally  large  elephant  at  the 
Zoological  Gardens,  became  popular 
through  certain  articles  in  the  D.  T. 
The  public  were  pleased  to  think 
Jumbo  refused  to  leave  England  and 
the  gardens  for  America.  He,  how- 
ever, did  ultimately,  with  no  emotion, 
leave  behind  him  this  bit  of  passing 

'  The  fly  flat  thinks  himself  so  blooming 
sharp,  so  right  bang  up  to  the  elephant, 
that  he's  got  an  idea  that  no  sharper 
would  ever  try  to  take  him  on.' 

Banian  Day.     See  Banyan  Day. 

Banjoeys  (Soc.,  90's).  Banjoists. 
A  happy  application  of  the  comic  joey 

— comic  since  the  time  of  Grimaldi. 
An  evasion  of  the  '  ist '  and  invention  of 
a  friendly  term  at  the  same  time.  Said 
to  be  a  trouvaille  by  the  Prince  of  Wales, 
who  brought  banjo  orchestras  into 
fashion,  being  a  banjoey  himself. 

Bank  Up,  To  (N.  Country  coal 
districts).  To  complete,  to  more  than 
complete — referring  to  building  up  a 
huge  fire,  e.g.,  'Us  sooped  yell  till 
niight,  an'  then  us  poot  away  room  ! 
Then  we  banked  up  with  a  jolly  dance — 
and  the  tykes  did  go  it.' 

The  Helston  Flora  Day— or  'Furry 
Day' — was  a  go-as-you-please  sort  of 
festivity,  where  people  danced  in  the 
streets,  waltzed  in  and  out  each  other's 
doors,  and  hilariously  '  banked  up '  these 
entertainments  by  holding  a  bird  show 
and  running  foot  races. — D.  T.,  20th 
August  1896. 

Banker  Chapel  Ho  (E.  London). 
Whitechapel,  and,  in  another  shape, 
vulgar  language.  The  word  got  in 
this  way.  In  the  first  place,  it  is  a 
ludicrous  Italian  translation— Bianca, 
white;  cappella,  chapel  =  White  Chapel. 
Then  Anglicization  entering  in,  the 
first  word  got  into  '  Banker '  and  the 
second  back  into  Chapel,  with  the 
addition  of  the  rousing  and  cheery 
'Oh!'  'Ah,  Mrs  Dicks,  but  you 
know  the  force  of  the  sweet  Italian 
quotation  "Giotto  Cimabue  di  Fra 
Angelico  in  Sistine  "  ! '  To  which 

Mrs  D ,  originally  from  the  district, 

might  reply :  '  Now,  Ned,  there's  a 
good  feller,  none  o'  your  Banker  Chapel 

Bant,  To  (Soc.,  1860  on).  To  reduce 
stoutness.  From  the  name  '  Banting ', 
that  of  a  very  fashionable  funeral 
undertaker,  who  reduced  himself  many 
stones  by  the  use  of  non-fat-producing 
food.  He  had  a  whale-bone  frame 
made  to  fit  his  once  large  waistcoats 
and  coats,  and  wore  the  whole  over  his 
reduced  size — removing  this  armour  to 
produce  a  full  effect. 

The  Globe  Dime  under  Meehan  and 
Wilson  has  not  been  behind  its  neigh- 
boiirs  in  furnishing  attractive  novelties, 
leading  off  with  John  Craig,  a  champion 
of  obesity,  who  has  '  banted '  down  to  a 
net  weight  of  758  pounds  avoirdupois. — 
N.  Y.  Mercury,  13th  January  1885. 

Banyan  Day  (Middle-class).  No 
meat ;  only  '  bread  and  cheese  and 
kisses '  through  twenty-four  hours.  Of 
course  from  India  and  the  Army,  the 




cooling  banyan  suggesting  that  all  the 
rupees  went  yesterday. 

If  the  actor  has  been  taking  the  M.P. 
unawares  on  banyan  day,  when  there 
wasn't  enough  cold  meat  to  go  round,  I 
certainly  think  he  owes  him  an  apology. 
—Ref.,  25th  February  1882. 

In  Devonshire  the  word  is  even 
applied  to  scrappy,  tawdry  dressing, 
e.g. ,  '  What  a  banyan  sight  to  be  sure ! ' 
(The  word  must  be  pronounced  as  a 

Those  were  the  halcyon  days  of  British 
industries.  The  banyan  days  have  been 
with  the  miners  since  then,  and  seem 
likely  to  stay.—  Ref.,  2nd  May  1886. 

They  told  me  that  on  Mondays, 
Wednesdays,  and  Fridays,  the  ship's 
company  had  no  allowance  for  meat, 
and  that  these  meagre  days  were  called 
banyan  days,  the  reason  of  which  they 
did  not  know  ;  but  I  have  since  learned 
they  take  their  denomination  from  a 
sect  of  devotees  in  some  parts  of  the 
East  Indies,  who  never  taste  flesh. — 
Smollett,  Roderick  Random,  ch.  xxv. 

'  Banyan '  is  sometimes  used  for  the 

The  first  hour  found  him  beastly 
drunk  ;  the  second,  robbed  and  stripped 
to  his  banyan.  —  Rattlin  the  Reefer, 
ch.  xliii. 

Barbecue  (Old  English}.  Any 
animal,  bird,  or  large  fish  cooked 
whole,  without  cutting,  from  beard 
(barbe)  to  tail  (queue). 

The  triumphal  procession  of  a  band  of 
music,  to  welcome  Mrs  Langtry,  was  a 
comparatively  ancient  device  smacking 
somewhat  of  both  the  circus  and  the 
institution  known  in  America  as  a 
'  barbecue '  (a  festival  where  a  bullock  or 
sheep  is  roasted  entire,  set  to  music). — 
Newsp.  Gutting. 

In  the  United  States  the  word  now 
represents  a  noisy  political  meeting. 

I  see  they  announce  a  big,  old- 
fashioned  barbecue  to  be  given  next 
week  by  the  Brooklyn  Democrats,  at 
which  Cleveland  and  Hendricks,  Presi- 
dential candidates,  are  to  participate. 
This  barbecue  holdin'  used  to  be  a  very 
popular  form  of  political  excitement  in 
the  olden  time. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

The  barbecue  was  announced  as  a 
'  Monster  Democratic  Kally ',  and  '  A 
Grand  Political  Carnival  and  Ox-Roast '. 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Barber's  Cat  (Peoples'}.  A  skinny 
man.  Perhaps  a  corruption  of  '  bare 
brisket ',  also  used  for  a  thin  fellow — 
the  brisket  being  the  thinnest  part  of 

Barclay  Perkins  (Peoples').  Stout 
From  the  brewing  firm  Barclay, 
Perkins  &  Co. 

Barg-es  (Peoples',  c.  1884).  Imita- 
tion breasts,  which  arrived  from 
France,  and  prevailed  for  about  four 
years.  Named  probably  from  their 
likeness  to  the  wide  prow  of  canal- 

Bark  up  a  wrong-  Tree  (American, 
e.g.,  19  cent.}.  Mr  Rees,  an  American 
etymologist,  says  : 

This  is  a  very  common  expression  at 
the  West.  It  originated,  as  many  of 
these  vulgarisms  do,  from  very  simple 
causes.  In  hunting,  a  dog  drives  a 
racoon,  as  he  imagines,  up  a  certain  tree, 
at  the  foot  of  which  he  keeps  up  a 
constant  barking,  by  which  he  attracts 
the  attention  of  his  master,  who  vainly 
looks  on  the  tree  indicated.  While 
endeavouring  to  find  the  animal  he  dis- 
covers it  on  another  tree,  from  which  it 
escapes  and  gets  beyond  his  reach. 
Hence  the  phrase  '  To  bark  up  the  wrong 
tree'.  It  has  become  general  in  its 
application,  denoting  that  a  person  has 
mistaken  his  object,  or  pursuing  the 
wrong  cause  to  obtain  it,  etc. 

Barkis  is  Willin'  (Peoples',  1850). 
Form  of  proposal  of  marriage,  still  very 
popular  in  lower-middle  classes.  From 
Dickens'  David  Gopperfield,  ch.  v. 

'Ah,'  he  said,  slowly  turning  his  eyes 
towards  me.  'Well,  if  you  was  writin' 
to  her  p'raps  you'd  recollect  to  say  that 
Barkis  was  willin1 :  would  you  ? ' 

Characters  hardly  less  distinguishable 
for  truth  as  well  as  oddity  are  the  kind 
old  nurse  and  her  husband,  the  carrier, 
whose  vicissitudes  alike  of  love  and 
mortality  are  condensed  into  three  words 
since  become  part  of  universal  speech, 
Barkis  is  willin  .  Foster,  Life  of  Dickens, 
vol.  in.,  p.  18. 

In  cross-examination  she  said  that  the 
drinking  fits  usually  occurred  when  Mr 
Dunn  was  from  home.  She  did  not 
think  that  the  Walls  were  fit  company 
for  Mrs  Dunn.  Mr  Wall  did  not  pay  the 
witness  any  attention.  Mrs  Wall  wanted 
to  force  her  son  on  the  witness,  but  she 
resented  it.  —  Sir  C.  Russell :  '  Waa 
"Barkis  willing "? '—The  witness:  'No.' 
(Laughter.) — Dunn  v.  Dunn  &  Wall, 
30th  January  1888. 

Barmy  (Peoples').  Generally  «a 
bit  barmy',  rather  mad,  'cracked'. 
From  St  Bartholomew,  the  patron 
saint  of  mad  people.  The  pronuncia- 
tion of  the  saint's  name  was  Barthelemy 
— passing  into  Bartlemy  (cf.  Bartlemy 
Fair),  and  Barmy  became  the  final 




form,  e.g.,  'The  family  has  always 
been  a  bit  barmy  in  the  crumpet.' 
(Why  crumpet  should  stand  for  head 
is,  so  far,  beyond  discovery. ) 

Barn.  A  public  ball-room ;  pro- 
bably because  one  of  the  last  of  the 
London  garden  ball-rooms  was  High- 
bury Barn,  North  London.  (See 

Barn  -  stormers  (Theatrical,  18 
cent.  on).  Inferior  actors  who  play 
in  barns.  Used,  of  course,  in  scorn  by 
those  comedians  who  have  reached 
permanent  footlights.  The  term  has 
now  almost  passed  away  in  consequence 
of  the  enormous  increase  in  the  number 
of  theatres  which  now  exist,  even  in 
the  smallest  towns.  The  'barn- 
stormers' hire  a  barn  near  a  village, 
and  there  give  their  performance — 
frequently  of  Shakespeare. 

Miss  Helen  Bancroft,  who  recently 
played  in  this  city,  was  announced  as 
with  a  barn-storming  company.  N.  Y. 
Mercury,  1883. 

Barner  (North  London,  1860-80). 
A  '  roaring '  blade,  a  fast  man  of  North 
London  ;  from  Highbury  Barn,  one  of 
those  rustic  London  gardens  which 
became  common  casinos.  The  term 
remained  until  the  Barn  was  swept 
away  for  building  purposes. 

Barneries  (Strand,  1887).  Last 
outcome  of  S.  Kensington  exhibitions 
ending  in  '-ries '. 

Considerable  commotion  ensued  at  the 
Adelphi  Stores,  Strand,  on  account  of 
the  new  proprietress,  Miss  Barnes,  being 

E resented  with  a  testimonial.     Miss  B. 
as   already    won    favour    in    her    new 
venture,  and  it  is  thought  the  'Barneries' 
will  be  much  affected  by  the  profession. 
— Ref.,  20th  February  1887. 

Barney  (L.  Eng.}.  A  quarrel,  row, 
generally  of  an  innocuous  character. 

Then  Selby  runs  out,  and  goes  into  the 
lodging-house  to  get  another  knife,  but 
I  stops  him,  and  the  barney  was  all  over, 
but  as  we  was  agoing  along  to  the 
hospital  up  comes  a  copper.  —  People, 
6th  January  1895. 

Baron  George  (S.  London,  1882). 
A  portly  man.  This  term  was  derived 
from  the  Christian  name  of  a  Mr  George 
Parkes,  a  portly  theatrical  lessee  in 
S.  London,  who  came  to  be  called 
Baron  George;  e.g.,  'He's  quite  the 
Baron  George  ! ' 

Barrel  of  Salt,  To  take  with  a 
(American).  To  accept  under  reserve, 


with   incredulity.      From    the    Latin 
phrase  cum  grano  salts. 

He  is  therefore  to  be  taken  with  a 
barrel  of  salt. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Barrel  of  Treacle  (Low  London). 
The  condition  of  love,  suggested  by 
the  sweetness  of  this  cloying  synonym. 

Ton  our  sivey,  we  don't  want  to  poke 
fun  at  chaps  who've  fallen  into  that 
barrel  of  treacle  called  love,  and  make 
up  to  their  little  lumps  of  soap  in  the 
operpro  sort  of  way,  and  no  blooming 
kid.—  Newsp.  Gutting,  1883. 

Barrered  (Low  Life).  A  corruption 
of  harrowed,  from  to  barrow  or  put  in 
a  barrow,  not  that  of  the  gardener 
but  of  the  coster.  Distinct  from 
'shettered'  (q.v.),  intimating  that  the 
drunken  gentleman  was  removed  by 
his  friends  and  not  by  the  police  ;  e.g., 
'Which  mum,  we  'ad  to  barrer  'im  'ome. 
He  were  too  that  'eavy  to  carry.'  In 
St  Giles  the  highest  shapes  of  in- 
voluntary locomotion  is  '  wheeled '  (in 
a  cab) — then  follows  barrered — then 
the  declension  is  reached  in  '  shettered ' 
(shuttered).  This  term  is  passing 
away  with  the  shutters  themselves. 

Barrikin  (Com.  London).  Barking, 

Let  'em  say  what  they  like,  and  howl 
themselves  dotty.  Their  barrikin  only 
makes  'em  thirsty,  and  when  they've  got 
hot  coppers  through  chucking  the 
barrikin  out  too  blooming  strong  they  go 
in  for  a  little  quiet  booze  themselves, 
make  no  error. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Barrister's  (Thieves').  A  thieves' 
coffee-house,  derived  from  a  celebrated 
host  of  this  name. 

The  witness  remarked  that  he  could 
not  waste  his  time ;  and  Richards  said 
he  could  not  make  out  where  he  was, 
and  he  would  go  to  the  '  barrister's '  and 
look  for  him.  (The  witness  explained, 
amid  a  roar  of  laughter,  that  a  '  bar- 
rister's' was  a  slang  term  for  a  coffee- 
house frequented  by  thieves.)— Cutting. 

Baseball  (American,  1880  on). 
Small,  insignificant.  Sometimes  heard 
in  Liverpool.  Suggested  by  the  small 
size  of  the  ball  in  question. 

Yesterday  a  Mercury  reporter  saw 
Heer  within  the  prison  walls.  As  he 
stepped  into  the  corridor  from  his  cell  he 
evinced  some  nervousness,  and  stroked  a 
'  baseball '  moustache  faintly  perceptible 
on  his  upper  lip,  with  his  cigarette- 
stained  fingers. — N.  Y.  Mercury,  1880. 

Bash  (Thieves',  1870).  To  beat 
heavily  with  the  fist  only.  Probably 
the  most  modern  onomatope  —  the 


Bayreuth  Hush 

word  doubtless  being  an  attempt  to 
vocalize  the  sound  made  by  a  fist 
striking  full  in  the  face. 

This  real  lady  said,  '  I  ain't  any  the 
wuss  for  being  able  to  take  my  own  part, 
and  I  should  think  myself  very  small 
beer,  and  no  kid,  if  I  couldn't  bash  any 
dona  in  our  court.' — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Women  of  susceptible  and  nervous 
temperaments  are  asked  to  come  to 
theatres  and  see  for  themselves  how  they 
hocuss  and  '  bash '  people  at  low  river- 
side houses. — Cutting. 

Mr  Chaplin  :  '  Bless  me,  yes  !  Didn't 
you  know  that  he  had  offered  Greenwood, 
of  The  Telegraph,  a  Civil  List  pension  if 
he  would  get  Lord  Randolph  "bashed" 
and  dropped  into  the  Thames?'— Re/., 

Basher  (Mod.  Low.  Lond.).  A 
name  applied  to  low  fighting  rowdies 
paid  to  bruise  and  damage. 

The  villain  of  the  piece  and  the 
'bashers',  or  hireling  assassins,  are 
supposed  to  carry  on  their  trade  un- 
checked in  Ratcliffe  Highway  and 

Basket  of  Oranges  (Australian, 
passing  to  England).  Pretty  woman. 
A  metaphor  founded  on  another 
metaphor — the  basket  of  oranges  being 
a  phrase  for  a  discovery  of  nuggets  of 
gold  in  the  gold  fields.  One  of  the 
few  flashes  of  new  language  from 
Australasia ;  e.g.,  '  She's  a  basket  of 
oranges  fit  for  any  man's  table.' 

Bastile  (Street,  18  cent.  on).  Any 
place  of  detention,  but  generally  a 
prison  or  a  workhouse.  More 
commonly  '  Steel '.  The  horror  of  the 
Bastile  felt  by  all  Frenchmen  in  the 
18th  century  spread  to  England,  and 
the  name  was  associated  with  oppres- 
sion. The  word  was  particularly 
applied  to  Cold  Bath  Fields  prison, 
Clerkenwell,  which  was  called  'The 
Steel'  until  its  final  fall  about  1890. 
The  last  new  application  of  this  word 
was  (1870)  to  the  Peabody  Buildings 
for  working  men,  erected  in  the 
Black  Friars  Road,  London.  It  was 
the  first  of  these  buildings,  which  have 
long  since  been  accepted  and  even 
battled  for  by  working  people.  But 
at  first  the  prejudice  was  very  marked. 
The  term  has  not  been  applied  since 

Bath  Oliver  (W.  Eng.,  18  cent.  on). 
A  biscuit  with  a  historical  character. 

'Bobs'  fights  on  'Bath  Olivers'. 
Shortly  before  leaving  for  the  Cape  he 
paid  a  visit  to  his  sister,  Mrs  Sherston, 


of  Bath,  and  took  away  with  him  to  the 
front  a  bountiful  supply  of  Bath  Olivers. 
He  sent  home  for  a  further  supply,  which 
Lady  Roberts  took  with  her  when  she 
went  to  join  him.  It  is  not  every  one  who 
has  heard  of  the  Oliver.  It  is  a  biscuit, 
and  owes  its  name  to  the  celebrated 
Dr  Oliver,  a  Bath  physician,  and  the 
friend  of  Pope,  Warburton,  and  other 
eighteenth  century  notabilities.  When 
on  his  death-bed,  the  doctor  called  for 
his  coachman,  and  gave  him  the  recipe 
for  the  biscuits,  ten  sacks  of  flour,  and  a 
hundred  sovereigns.  The  lucky  fellow 
started  making  and  selling  the  biscuits 
in  a  small  shop  in  Green  Street,  Bath. 
And  there  they  are  made  and  sold  to 
this  day.—  M.  A.  P.,  19th  May  1900. 

Batter  through  (Peoples').  To 
struggle,  beat  thro',  from  French 
battre,  to  beat,  probably  used  in  the 
time  of  Charles  II.  ;  e.g.,  '  He  battered 
through  the  part  somehow  ! ' 

Batty-fang  (Low  London).  To  thrash 
thoroughly.  Evidently  battre  a  Jin. 
But  how  it  passed  into  English,  or 
whence  it  came,  unless  from  the  heated 
court  of  Charles  II.,  it  would  be 
difficult  to  say. 

Baub  (Cockney,  19  cent.).  One  of 
the  commonest  modes  of  evasively 
referring  to  the  Deity — modes  in  which 
some  idea  of  the  original  word,  either 
in  length,  syllable,  or  letters,  or  even 
rhyme,  is  to  be  traced  ;  e.g.,  '  S'elp  me 
Baub,  I  didn't  go  for  to  do  it.'  How- 
ever, the  word  really  comes  from 
Catholic  England,  and  is  'babe' — 
meaning  the  infant  Saviour. 

Baudinguet  (Parisian).  A  nick- 
name given  to  Prince  Napoleon  in  1848, 
from  the  name  of  the  mason  who  aided 
the  Prince  to  escape  from  Ham,  where 
he  was  imprisoned.  It  stuck  to 
Napoleon  III.  even  to  1870,  when  a 
war  correspondent  at  Sarbriick  (July 
1870)  asked  a  soldier  if  he  knew  whether 
the  emperor  had  arrived.  The  reply 
was  :  '  Oui ;  Baudinguet  est  arrive.' 

Bayreuth  Hush  (Soc.,  1890). 
Intense  silence.  From  the  noiseless- 
ness  of  the  opera  house  at  Bayreuth 
(Bavaria)  when  a  Wagner  festival  is 
about  to  commence. 

If  it  cannot  be  said  that  the  peculiar 
order  of  stillness  known  as  the  '  Bayreuth 
hush'  made  itself  felt  in  the  Covent 
Garden  opera  house  last  evening,  yet 
there  is  no  denying  the  spirit  of  expecta- 
tion and  attention  in  which  a  full 
audience  brought  itself  to  the  opening 
performance  of  the  long-expected  Ring 
cycle.—Z?.  T.,  7th  June  1898. 

Bazaar  Rumour 


Bazaar  Rumour  (Army,  1882 
on).  Doubtful  news.  Equivalent  to 
'  Hamburg '.  The  result  of  the  Egyptian 
occupation,  referring  to  native  news 
spread  through  the  bazaars  of  Cairo. 

I  am  able  to  contradict  on  official 
authority  the  statement  published  in 
London  that  there  was  a  bazaar  rumour 
that  the  Mahdi  and  his  followers  were 
marching  on  Dongola.  —  D.  N.,  10th 
November  1884. 

Bazaar'd  (Soc.,  1882).  Robbed. 
From  the  extortion  exercised  by  remorse- 
less, smiling  English  ladies  at 
bazaars.  Applied  everywhere.  Re- 
placed, 'rooked'  in  society;  e.g.,  'I 
was  awfully  bazaar'd  at  San  down.' 

A  gentleman  coming  home  from  a 
bazaar  met  a  highwayman,  who  accosted 
him  with  the  professional  formula  of 
'Your  money  or  your  life.'  'My  dear 
sir,'  said  the  gentleman,  'I  should  be 
most  happy  to  give  you  my  money  if  I 
had  any,  but  I  have  just  been  to  a 
bazaar.  '<  The  highwayman  at  once 
acknowledged  the  force  of  this  argument, 
and  further  was  so  touched  by  the 
circumstances  that  he  offered  the  victim 
a  small  contribution. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Beach-comber  (Nautical}.  A  pirate, 
a  beach-loafer,  or  a  yachting  tourist. 
In  its  earlier  shape  it  referred  to  the 
pirate  who  made  a  landing  and  swept 
up  all  he  could— that  is,  he  'combed 
the  beach '.  The  pirate  being  quite 
dead  in  the  Western  Seas,  this  sense  of 
the  term  is  now  only  applied  in  the 
East,  and  generally  to  the  Chinese 
marin  d'industrie.  The  use  of  the 
word  in  its  earlier  meaning  is  some- 
times figurative,  especially  on  the 
American  coast,  e.g.,  'I  was  beach- 
combed  out  of  every  red  cent.'  In  its 
later  sense  the  word  means  a  globe- 
trotter, or  rather  a  beach -trotter,  who 
travels  only  on  land  within  easy 
distance  of  his  wandering  yacht. 

It  would  be  better  to  enter  the  army 
from  the  ranks,  or  to  go  gold-mining  in 
Chiapas,  or  try  ivory  and  Central  Africa, 
or  even  to  be  a  beach-comber  in  some 
insular  paradise  of  the  Southern  Seas, 
which,  as  Mr  Stevenson  is  showing,  is 
the  best  kind  of  lotus-eating  life  left  to 
mankind.—  D.  N.,  llth  February  1891. 

Probably  Mr  Stevenson  would  not  be 
displeased  at  the  title  of  a  literary  beach- 
comber.— D.  N.,  27th  December  1890. 

Beadles  (American).  People  of 
Virginia ;  probably  from  their  high, 
old-fashioned  behaviour,  which  the 
Northerner  associates  with  that  ex- 
piring church  functionary. 

Beak  (Low  London,  18  and  19  cent.). 
A  magistrate.  Probably  from  lawyers, 
as  Thackeray  has  somewhere  remarked, 
being  celebrated  for  a  vast  expanse  of 
aquiline  nose.  Mr  Gr.  A.  Sala  (D.  T., 
28th  July  1896),  urges  a  different 
origin : 

A  contributor  to  Notes  and  Queries 
states  that  Hookey  Walker  was  a 
magistrate  of  much-dreaded  acuteness 
and  incredulity,  whose  Roman  nose  gave 
the  title  of  '  beak '  to  all  his  successors. 
The  term  is  derived  from  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  '  beag ',  a  necklace  or  collar  worn 
as  an  emblem  of  authority.  Sir  John 
Fielding,  half-brother  of  the  novelist, 
was  known  as  the  'blind  beak',  and  he 
died  in  1780,  sixty  years  before  the  cry 
of  '  Hookey  Walker '  became  popular. 

Beak-hunter  (Thieves').  Annexer 
of  poultry. 

Bean-eater  (New  York}.  A  term 
of  scorn  for  a  citizen  of  Boston,  refer- 
ring to  the  former  Sunday  custom 
observed  by  some  Bostonians  of  accept- 
ing for  dinner  on  that  day  cold  belly 
of  pork,  and  colder  beans.  (See  Stars 
and  Stripes.) 

Circus  tricks  !  circus  tricks  !  you  bean- 
eaters  !  Can't  you  tell  when  a  feller's 
a-dying: — Gutting. 

Beanfeast  (Peoples'}.  A  treat. 
Used  generally  in  reference  to  enjoy- 
ments, and  derived  from  the  yearly 
feast  of  employees  in  factories  and 
shops,  of  which  much  of  the  expense 
is  borne  by  the  employer.  Originally 
the  treat  consisted  of  broad  beans  and 
boiled  bacon,  which  must  have  been  a 
great  delight  when  few  green  vegetables 
were  obtainable  throughout  winter. 

Oh,  it  was  quite  a  beanfeast — only  one 
mouse  [= black-eye]. — Cutting. 

Sometimes  it  is  used  satirically  to 
denote  a  riot,  e.g.,  'What  a  bean- 
feast ! '  parallel  with  the  American 
'  picnic '. 

Beano  (Peoples').  Great  rejoicing. 
From  bean-feast,  reduced  to  bean,  with 
the  ever  rejoicing  o  added.  (See  Boyno. ) 
It  may  be  a  connected  coalition  with 
'  bueno ' — common  in  London  Docks — 
being  Lingua  Franca. 

One  day  last  week  I  said  '  Good-bye  ! ' 
To  my  kids,  my  wife,  and  home, 

I  met  some  pals,  and  away  we  went 
For  a  '  beano '  by  the  foam. 

—Cutting,  1897. 

Beaner  (Peoples'}.  Chastisement. 
'  To  give  beans '  is  to  inflict  punish- 
ment, a  phrase  derived  from  boys 




beating  each  other  with  a  collection  of 
horse-beans  in  the  foot  of  a  sock.  The 
word  'beaner'  is  sometimes  used 
ironically,  calling  something  agreeable 
which  is  quite  otherwise,  e.g.,  'That's 
a  beaner — that  is  ! ' 

Beanpea  (London  Streets).  A 
coalescing  of  B  and  P  (q.v.)  into  one 
word,  the  d  being  dropped.  Doubtless 
the  outcome  of  time,  and  the  droll  idea 
of  combining  the  two  vegetables  which 
come  in  almost  at  the  same  time. 
Still  hastily,  too  hastily,  applied  to 
effeminate  youths.  The  case  was 
thrown  out  of  Court  when  it  came 
before  Lord  Chief-Justice  Cockburn. 

Beans.  Sovereigns.  Possibly  a 
corruption  of  bien  (a  sovereign  being 
certainly  a  '  bien ').  But  it  may  be  a 
market-gardeners'  trade  phrase.  But 
if  so,  why  beans  ?  Why  not  straw- 
berries, or  asparagus,  or  some  other  of 
the  more  valuable  products  ? 

Be-argered  (Peoples'}.  Drunk. 
The  '  argered '  is  '  argumentative ',  a 
drunken  man  being  commonly  full,  not 
only  of  beer,  but  also  of  argument. 

Beast  (Fowls',  1870).  A  bicycle— 
the  first  endearing  metaphor  bestowed 
upon  this  locomotive.  Used  in  no  way 
derogatively,  but  as  though  a  horse — a 
hunter.  (See  Bone-shaker,  Craft, 
Crock.)  But,  as  time  went  on  and  the 
'  byke '  became  a  power,  it  ceased  to  be 
associated  with  a  mere  animal ;  by 
1897  no  term  could  be  too  distinguished 
by  which  to  designate  the  all-conquer- 
ing machine. 

Beat-up  (Soc.,  19  cent.).  To  call 
upon  unceremoniously ;  from  beating- 
up  game,  which  is  certainly  not  treated 
with  politeness  when  wanted,  e.g., 
'  I'll  beat  you  up  on  Monday,  or  when 
I  can.'  (See  Stir  up,  Have  out.) 

Beau  (Peoples').  A  man  of  fashion 
— early  18  century,  of  course  direct 
from  the  French,  and  evidently  from 
'  est  il  beau  ? '  for  before  '  homme '  it 
changes  its  formation : '  un  bel  homme ! ' 
Johnson  says,  '  A  man  whose  great 
care  is  to  deck  his  person.'  Still  used 
in  country  places.  '  What  a  beau  ye 
be,  Tummis  ! '  Earliest  classic  use  by 
Dryden,  '  What  will  not  beaux  attempt 
to  please  the  fair  ? '  Swift  says,  '  You 
will  become  the  delight  of  nine  ladies 
in  ten,  and  the  envy  of  ninety-nine 
beaux  in  a  hundred.'  Never  now 
heard  in  towns.  (See  Spark. ) 

Beau-catcher    (Peoples',    1854-60). 


A  flat  hook -shaped  curl,  after  the 
Spanish  manner,  gummed  on  each 
temple,  and  made  of  the  short  temple 
hair,  spelt  sometimes  bow-catcher.  It 
is  synonymous  with  '  Kiss  curl'.  Now 
obsolete  on  this  side  of  the  Pyrenees. 

Beaver-tail  (Mid. -class,  1860).  A 
feminine  mode  of  wearing  the  back- 
hair,  turned  up  loose  in  a  fine  thread 
net  (called  'invisible')  which  fell  well 
on  to  the  shoulders.  When  the  net  is 
now  worn,  generally  by  lazy  girls  of 
the  people,  it  is  fixed  above  the  neck. 
Obviously  from  the  shape  of  the  netted 
hair  to  a  beaver's  flat  and  com- 
paratively shapeless  tail.  The  well- 
marked  fashion  in  hair  for  the  people's 
women  folk  which  followed  was  the 
'  Piccadilly  Fringe '  (q.v.). 

Bedder  (Oxford-1  er').     Bedroom. 

Bedford  Go  (Tavern,  1835-60).  A 
peculiar  oily  chuckle  usually  accom- 
panied by  the  words,  '  I  b'lieve  yer  my 
bu-o-oy.'  From  the  style  of  Paul 
Bedford,  an  actor  for  many  years  with 
Wright,  at  the  old  Adelphi.  Bedford 
always  was  famous  for  his  chuckle, 
but  he  raised  it  to  fame  in  connection 
with  the  above  credo,  uttered  in  the 
celebrated  melodrama,  The  Green 
Bushes.  (See  Joey,  0.  Smith.) 

Bee  (American).  An  industrious 
meeting  —  as  quilting,  or  apple- 

One  day  the  boys  over  in  the  Bend 
had  a  hanging  bee  and  invited  us  to 
come  down  and  see  a  chap  swing  for  his 
crimes.  —  Detroit  Free  Press,  January 

Beef  (Theatrical,  1880).  A  bawl  or 
yell.  Probably  the  career  of  this  word 
is— 'bull— bellow— beef, 'the  last  word 
elegantly  suggesting  the  declaration  of 
a  noisy  bull. 

At  the  back  was  the  musical  box,  and 
an  obliging  hammer-wholloper  beefed 
the  names  of  the  different  squallers  and 
bawlers  as  they  slung  on  the  boards. 
— Cutting. 

Beef  ( Clare  Market— extinct).  Cat's 
meat,  e.g.,  'Give  me  my  mouser's  one 
d.  of  beef.' 

Beef  a  Bravo  (Music-hall).  To 
bellow,  bravo  like  a  bull,  in  order  to 
lead  the  applause  for  a  friend  who  has 
just  left  the  stage. 

Beef-a-la-Mode  (Com.  London). 
Stewed  beef  called  d-la-mode  on  the 
lucus  a  non  lucendo  principle — for  it  is 
not  a  fashionable  dish.  It  came  from 
Paris,  where,  in  the  days  of  sign- 

Beef -heads  or  Cow-boys 

Behind  Yourself 

boards,  a  restaurant  where  this  dish 
was  sold  showed  the  sign  of  a  bullock 
seated  in  clothes  of  fashion. 

You  can  swill  yourselves  out  with  beef- 
d-la-mode,  as  toffs  call  it,  for  two  d., 
or  you  can  indulge  in  the  aristocratic 
sausage  and  mashed  and  half-a-pint  of 
pongelow  all  for  four  d. — Cutting. 

Beef-heads  or  Cow-boys  (Ameri- 
can). People  of  Texas  and  the  West 
of  U.S.A. — from  the  general  employ- 
ment of  the  inhabitants  being  the 
harrying  of  cattle. 

Beef-headed.  Stupid.  Cattle  be- 
ing heavy,  stolid,  and  torpid. 

Beef-tugging  (City).  Eating  cook- 
shop  meat,  not  too  tender,  at  lunch- 
time.  Dinner  is  not  clerkly  known  in 
the  E.G.  district  as  occurring  between 
1  and  2  P.M. 

Been  and  gone  and  done  it 
(Peoples').  Very  general  mode  of  say- 
ing that  the  speaker  has  got  married, 
N.B. — gone  is  in  this  relation  generally 
pronounced  'gorne'. 

Marius  and  Florence  St  John  have 
'been  and  gorne  and  done  it'  at  last. 
The  registrar  of  hatches,  matches,  and 
dispatches  has  tied  what  for  them  is  the 
'dissoluble'  knot. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Been  there  (Amer.-Eng.,  1870). 
Had  experience;  e.g.,  'Thank  'ee — 
no  betting ;  I've  been  there.' 

Some  reasons  why  I  left  off  drinking 
whiskey,  by  one  who  has  been  there. — 
Paper  in  Philadelphia,  Sat.  Ev.  Post, 

He  wants  a  man  who  understands  his 
case,  who  sympathises  with  him,  who 
has  been  there  himself,  and  who  will 
give  him  a  vent  for  his  emotions  at  a 
reasonable  rate  per  line. — N.  York  Puck, 
14th  September  1883. 

Beer  and  Skittles  (Peoples').  A 
synonym  for  pleasure;  e.g.,  'Ah,  Joe, 
if  a  bloke's  life  was  all  beer  and 
skittles  we  shouldn't  be  doing  time.' 

But  life  on  a  yacht  is  not  all  beer  and 
skittles,  nor  is  it  always  afternoon. 
There  is  the  dreadful  morning  time, 
when  the  crew  begin  to  stir  on  deck, 
and  earthquake  and  chaos  seem  to  have 
come.—  D.  N.,  22nd  August  1885. 

Beerage  (Soc. ,  1 9  cent. ).  A  satirical 
rendering  of  peerage,  referring  to  the 
brewery  lords,  chiefly  of  the  great 
houses  of  Allsopp  and  of  Guinness. 

Dr  Edwards  as  a  temperance  worker 
had  some  very  strong  things  to  say  a  few 
months  ago  on  the  subject  of  the  en- 
noblement of  rich  brewers.  Of  course 
he  opposed  it  on  moral  grounds,  but 

some  of  the  old  nobility  would  be  inclined 
to  agree  with  his  denunciation  of  the 
'beerage'  for  other  reasons — Newsp. 

Beer-bottle  (Street}.  A  stout,  red- 
faced  man. 

Beer-eaters  (19  cent.}.  A  great 
consumer  of  beer,  one  who  more  than 
drinks  it — who  lives  on  it. 

The  Norwaygiansarea  fine  and  a  sturdy 
race,  but  not  at  all  like  I  had  imagined 
them,  after  all  I  had  read  about  Sigurd 
and  Sintram  and  Sea-egg-fried,  and  the 
Beerseekers,  who  must  not  be  confounded 
with  a  race  peculiar  to  London,  found 
mainly  upon  licensed  premises,  and  dis- 
tinguished among  their  kind  as  the  Beer- 
eaters.—  Ref.,  21st  August  1887. 

Beer  -  juggers  (Amer.  Miner's}. 

The  only  busy  people  in  the  place  were 
the  wife  of  the  pianist,  who  sat  by  him 
industriously  sewing,  and  the  women 
who  sold  drink.  These  latter  are  called 
beer-juggers,  and  fill  a  large  place  in  the 
evening  life  of  the  miner.  Journey 
Round  the  World  :  '  of  LEADVILLE.  ' — 
D.  N.,  October  1883. 

Beer  O  !  (Trades).  The  cry  when 
an  artisan  does  a  something,  or  omits 
to  do  a  something,  the  result  of  which 
in  either  case  being  a  fine  to  be  paid 
in  pongelow.  The  exclamation  is 
taken  up  by  the  whole  shop,  or  rather 
was,  as  the  custom  is  now  obsolete. 

Beetroot  Mug  (Street).  A  red 
face— passed  for  many  years  into  Ally 
Sloper,  a  character  in  comic  fiction 
since  1870,  invented  by  Charles  Ross, 
a  humorist  of  the  more  popular  kind. 

Before  the  War  (Soc. ,  1880).  From 
America.  A  new  shape  of  '  the  good 
old  times'.  Whenever  a  ganache  in 
the  U.S.A.  wants  to  condemn  the 
present  he  compares  it  with  the  time 
'before  the  War  (1860-65)'. 

'  How  beautiful  the  moon  is  to-night ! ' 
remarked  an  American  belle  to  her  lover, 
as  they  spooned  in  the  open.  '  Yes, ' 
was  the  reply ;  '  but  you  should  have 
seen  it  before  the  war ! ' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Begorra,  also  By  Jabers  (Irish). 
Solemn  Irish  oaths.  Both  words  have 
been  adopted  by  common  English  folk. 
Spoken — Yes,  by  jabers  ;  he's  the  best 
boy  that  ever  was.  Sure  he's  shown  such 
powers  of  discernment  ever  since  the 
first  day  he  was  born,  that  begorra  he 
knows  more  now  than  ever  I've  forgotten. 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Behind  Yourself  (Peoples' ,  1896  on). 
Too  far  behind,  quite  in  the  rear,  far 




from  absolutely  up  to  date.  Antithesis 
of  Too  previous;  e.g.,  'What — you 
thought  to-day  was  Thursday  ?  Why, 
it's  Saturday  afternoon.  You're  behind 
yourself,  man,  and  a  deal  at  that.' 

Behindativeness  (Soc.,  1888). 
Referring  to  the  dress  pannier — one 
of  the  shapes  with  which  fashion  is  for 
ever  varying  the  natural  outline  of  the 
feminine  frame;  e.g.,  'That  lady  has 
got  a  deal  of  behindativeness.' 

Belcher  (Sporting,  19  cent.).  A 
handkerchief  pattern,  round  spots, 
light  or  dark  upon  a  dark  or  light 
ground.  From  a  prize-fighter,  Jim 
Belcher,  who  always  carried  into  the 
ring  a  wiping  handkerchief  of  this 
kind.  After  Belcher's  time,  the 
'belcher'  split  up  into  colours,  every 
prize-fighter  having  his  own  tints. 
Belcher's  original  was  white  spots  on 
dark  blue  ground.  Until  quite  recent 
years,  a  spotted  neck-tie  was  called  a 
Belcher :  now  called  a  '  moon-tie '. 

At  one  time  '  belchers '  were  made  of 
that  pattern  which  is  affected  in  that 
spotty  coat  which  Mr  H.  B.  Con  way 
sports  in  The  Widow  Hunt.— Entr'acte, 
June  1885. 

Belittle,  To.  To  make  little  of. 
An  old  word  not  found  in  most 
dictionaries,  but  brought  into  fresh 
use  in  1898  by  Mr  Joseph  Chamberlain, 
who  about  this  time  frequently  used  it. 

Our  whole  policy  has  been  belittled 
and  ridiculed  by  the  men  who,  when 
they  were  in  office,  kept  our  Colonies  at 
arms'  length. — Mr  J.  Chamberlain,  8th 
December  1898. 

The  hard-won  victories  he  gained  in 
the  old  times  are  belittled  and  made 
nothing  of. —Sun,  6th  December  1899. 

Bell  the  Cat  ( Peoples').  To  risk  the 
lead.  Still  used  without  any  real 
knowledge  of  its  origin,  but  with 
thorough  comprehension  of  its  applica- 
tion, e.g.,  'Yes,  but  who'll  tell  him 
she's  no  good — who'll  bell  the  cat? 
Some  of  us  know  he's  got  a  bunch  of 

The  proverb  is  of  Scottish  origin,  and 
was  thus  occasioned :  The  Scottish 
nobility  entered  into  a  combination 
against  a  person  of  the  name  of  Spence, 
the  favourite  of  King  James  III.  It 
was  proposed  to  go  in  a  body  to  Stirling 
to  seize  Spence  and  hang  him  ;  then  to 
offer  their  services  to  the  king,  as  his 
natural  counsellors  ;  upon  which  the  Lord 
Gray  observed,  '  It  is  well  said,  but  who 
will  bell  the  cat  ? '  alluding  to  the  fable 
of  the  mice,  who  proposed  to  put  a  bell 

round  the  cat's  neck,  that  they  might  be 
apprized  of  her  coming.  The  Earl  of 
Angus  replied  that  he  would  bell  the 
cat :  which  he  accordingly  did,  and  was 
ever  after  called  Archibald  Bell-Cat. 

Belle  a  croquer  (Soc.,  1860).  Beauti- 
ful enough  to  command  desire.  Dating 
second  French  Empire,  it  lasted  into 
1883,  in  English  Society,  becoming  in 
lower  circles  '  beller- croaker '. 

It  possesses  the  further  advantage  of 
being  blue  enough  to  make  a  blonde 
belle  cl  croquer,  and  yet  not  too  blue  to 
make  her  darker  sister  look  as  delightful 
as  Nature  meant  her. — Newsp.  Gutting, 

Bellering  Cake  (School).  Cake  in 
which  the  plums  are  so  far  apart  that 
they  have  to  beller  (bellow)  when  they 
wish  to  converse. 

Belly-washer  (Amer.  Saloon). 
Lemonade  or  aerated  water.  (See 

Bellywengins  (E.  Anglian,  chiefly 
Suffolk).  A  violent  corruption  of 
'  belly- vengeance ',  a  cruel  comment 
upon  the  sour  village  beer  of  those 

Belt  (Anglo-American).  To  assault. 
From  the  army,  where  the  belt  was 
often  used  for  aggressive  purposes. 

Mrs  Tice,  who  saw  her  approaching, 
said :  '  There  comes  that  old  maid  ;  belt 
her.' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Belt  Case,  The  (Soc.).  A  symbol 
for  years  of  wearisome  tardiness.  From 
a  celebrated  libel  case,  Belt  v.  Lawes 
(1882),  which  lasted  on  and  off  for 

It  is  more  interminable  than  the  Belt 
case.— D.  N.,  25th  October  1883. 

Ben  (Theatrical,  19  cent.).  Short 
for  'benefit' — 'benefit'  never  being 
used  under  any  consideration  by  any 
self-respecting  actor  when  speaking  in 
the  profession.  'Benefit'  succeeded 
'  bespeak ',  which  was  in  use  when 
Dickens  wrote  Nicholas  Nickleby. 

Ben  (Soc.,  1880).  A  fib,  a  tarra- 
diddle.  The  history  of  this  word  is 
fortunately  preserved.  A  well-known 
Italian  proverb  was  converted  into 
Se  non  e  vero — e  Benjamin  trovato. 
The  'Ben'  was  too  evident  to  be 
resisted.  Hence  a  fib  was  described 
as  a  Benjamin  Trovato,  passing  into 
Ben  Trovato,  then  Ben  Tro,  and 
finally  Ben,  whence  it  has  got  fatally 
confounded  with  '  ben ',  the  abbrev. 
of 'benefit'. 
The  papers  were  rampant  as  to  the 



Best  Eye  Peeled 

Czar's  forty  thousand  dollar  diamonds, 
and  Modjeska's  jewellery  was  one  of  the 
attractions  of  the  season.  Perhaps  this 
story  isn't  true.  Anyway,  it  will  do  to 
go  into  the  Benjamin  Trovato  series. — 
Ref.,  29th  March  1885. 

Here  is  a  little  story  which,  if  not 
true,  ought  to  be,  for  it  is  at  least  of 
the  Benjamin  order. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Ben-cull  (Thieves').  A  friend.  Ben 
is  from  the  Hatton  Garden  Italian 

Bench  Winner  (Soc. ).  A  dog  which 
has  won  many  prizes  at  dog-shows — 
from  the  exhibits  being  placed  upon 

The  result  is  a  series  of  paintings  very 
aptly  termed  '  A  dog  show  on  canvas  and 
paper',  for  not  only  are  all  the  Koyal 
favourites  represented,  but  there  is 
scarcely  a  bench  winner  of  note  not 
included.—  D.  T.,  llth  February  1897. 

The  hounds  are  the  property  of  Mr 
Edwin  Brougb,  who  has  devoted  himself 
to  bloodhound  breeding.  It  has  been 
Mr  Brough's  practice  not  only  to  breed 
for  bench  points,  but  to  train  his  animals 
to  exercise  those  peculiar  faculties  with 
which  they  have  been  endowed  by 
nature.—  D.  N.,  10th  October  1888. 

Bench  Points  (London).  Ascer- 
tained and  classified  physical  advan- 
tages. From  show  animals,  especially 
dogs,  being  exhibited  on  benches. 
Applied  also  to  women,  e.g.,  'Her 
bench  points  were  perfect,  but  I 
shouldn't  like  a  wife  of  her  build.' 

Bend  o'  the  Filbert  (Low,  18  cent.). 
A  bow  or  nod,  filbert  being  elegantly 
substituted  for  the  'nob'  or  'nut', 
both  signifying  head. 

She  gives  him  a  bend  o'  the  filbert  as 
much  as  to  crack  'ight-ri,  its  oper-pro 
for  your  nibs,  you  can  take  on '. — Cutting. 

The  above  describes  a  serio-comic 
lady  accepting  by  a  nod,  while  acting 
or  singing,  the  attentions  of  an 

Bender  (London).  A  sixpenny 
piece ;  so  called  from  the  rapidity 
with  which  this  coin  wears  thin,  and 
thereupon  easily  bends.  This  was 
especially  the  case  thirty  years  since. 

Bender  (Anglo- Amer.).  E.g.,  'Three 
sailors  on  a  bender,'  i.e.,  '  on  a  drunken 
spree.'  Possibly  a  conception  of  a 
'Bon  Dieu'  used  exclamatorily='My 
eye  ! '  or  '  Good  heavens  ! '  or  it  may  be 
from  some  Spanish  word  adopted  by 
Texas  cow-boys  after  that  State  was 
wrested  from  Mexico  (1845),  creeping 

up  north.     It   is  common  to  sailors 
'  over  the  ditch  '. 

There  was  a  distant  rumbling  and 
groaning,  as  if  old  Vesuvius  was  on  a 
bender. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

In  England  the  Bender  is  the  elbow. 
(See  Over  the  Bender. ) 

Bengal  Blanket  (Anglo-Ind.,  19 
cent.).  Used  by  soldiers  who  have 
been  in  India  to  describe  the  sun  ;  e.g., 
'  Yere's  a  London  May — fifteen  days, 
and  I  ain't  seen  a  corner  o'  Bengal 
Blanket— what  a  climate  ! '  (See  Blue 

Benjamin  (Maritime,  19  cent.).  A 
sailor's  blue  jacket,  larger  than  the 
'  monkey '  jacket  which  barely  passes 
the  hip-bones.  It  was  the  merciful 
invention  of  a  Hebrew  sailors' -tailor  on 
Portsmouth  Hard.  The  grateful  tars 
appear  to  have  given  the  name  of  this 
watcher  of  their  winter  comforts  to  the 
garment  he  invented.  The  word  is 
now  in  general  use  for  a  jacket  of 
dark-blue  or  black  cloth  made  long 
and  fitting  to  the  figure.  Generally 
called  an  '  Upper  Benjamin '.  Sailors 
also  call  the  rare  nautical  waistcoat  a 
'Benjy'.  Probably  this  was  another 
invention,  used  in  the  diminutive  form 
of  the  beneficent  Benjamin. 

Benjo  (Sailors',  1 9  cent. ).  A  riotous 
holiday,  a  noisy  day  in  the  streets, 
probably  from  'ben',  or  buen  giorno; 
e.g.,  '  Jim's  out  on  a  benjo.' 

Beong  (Thieves').  A  shilling — pro- 
bably a  form  of  the  French  '  bien ' ; 
for  indeed  a  shilling  is  very  well  when 
coppers  only  are,  as  a  rule,  ours. 

Bermondsey  Banger  (London).  A 
society-leader  among  the  South  London 
tanneries.  He  must  frequent  '  The 
Star',  be  prepared  to  hold  his  own, 
and  fight  at  all  times  for  his  social 

Bespeak  (Theatrical,  1830-50).  A 
performance  for  the  benefit  of  an  actor 
or  actress.  The  name  took  its  rise 
from  the  patrons  called  upon  by  the 
beneficiare  at  the  country  theatre,  giv- 
ing a  comparative  consensus  of  opinion 
as  to  the  piece  in  which  the  applicant 
should  appear.  It  was  superseded  by 
'benefit',  which  yielded  to  'ben'.  A 
good  deal  concerning  bespeaks  may  be 
found  in  Dickens'  Nicholas  Nickleby. 

Best  Eye  Peeled  (Amer.).  A  figure 
of  speech  for  extreme  alacrity. 

I  tell  you  a  driver  on  one  of  those 
vane  has  got  to  keep  his  best  eye  peeled 
every  minute. — Newsp.  Gutting. 


Bet  yer  Sweet  Life 

Big  Beck 

Bet  yer  sweet  life  (Amer.-EngL). 
Perfect  assurance,  complete  conviction. 

'Ob,  no,  certainly  not,'  said  Mr  Jones, 
smiling  blandly.  'There  are  ups  and 
downs  in  theatrical  life ;  can't  always 

said  Mr  Lunk  emphatically. — 1884. 

Bet  you  a  million  to  a  bit  of  dirt 
(Sporting,  19  cent.}.  '  The  thing  is  so 
sure  that  there  can  be  no  uncertainty. 
The  betting  man's  Ultima  Thule  of 

Bet  your  boots  ( W.  Amer}.  Ab- 
solutely safe  betting— the  boots  being 
the  most  serious  item  of  expense  in  the 
Wild  West  uniform. 

'You  bet',  or  'you  bet  yer  life',  or 
'  you  bet  yer  bones ',  while  to  '  bet  yer 
boots '  is  confirmation  strong  as  holy  writ 
— in  the  mines,  at  least. — All  the  Year 
Round,  October  1868. 

Betty  Martin :  v.  All  my  eye  and 
Betty  Martin. 

Between  the  Devil  and  the  Deep 
Blue  Sea.  Scylla  on  the  one  side, 
Charybdis  on  the  other— between  two 
equal  menaces.  The  phrase  has  no 
meaning  as  it  reads— the  devil  and  the 
deep  blue  sea  have  no  relation.  May 
this  not  be  one  of  the  frequent  per- 
versions of  proper  names  to  words  well 
understood  of  the  people?  For  in- 
stance, may  it  not  refer  to  a  couple 
of  French  admirals  or  generals  'Deville' 
and  '  Duplessy '—  'Between  Deville  and 
Duplessy' — inferring  disaster  for  the 
middle  party.  The  phrase  is  quite 

'  I  had  to  pay  up — there  was  Hook 
on  one  side,  and  Crook  on  the  other — 
I  was  between  the  Devil  and  the  Deep 
Blue  Sea.' 

He  may  indeed  be  said  to  be  between 
the  devil  and  the  deep  sea — victims  alike 
of  Kurd  and  Turk.—  Joseph  Hatton,  6th 
February  1898. 

Bever  (E.  Anglian).  A  four  o'clock 
halt  on  the  road  for  a  drink.  An 
interesting  word,  evidently  from  the 
Norman  conjugation  of  boire.  (See 
Levenses. ) 

Bexandebs  (E.  London,  18  cent.  on). 
A  young  easy-go  Jewess  in  the 
Wentworth  Street  district.  A  com- 
bination of  Becks  (Rebeccas)  and  Debs 
(Deborahs),  used  satirically,  e.g.,  'The 
bexandebs  are  in  full  feather— it's 
Pentecost  Shobboth  ! ' 

Beyond, The  (Amer.  1878).   Heaven. 

To  this,  one  venerable  old  gentleman 
in  the  circle  responded  that  he  could  now 
see  around  him  daily  his  friends  who  had 
gone  to  the  beyond,  and  that  if  he  is 
riding  in  a  street  car  and  it  is  not 
crowded,  they  enter  and  sit  beside  and 
opposite  him.— N.  Y.  Mercury,  April 

Beweep  (1898).  A  new  form  of 
'weep'  brought  in  by  the  Tzar  of 
Kussia  (20th  May  1898)  in  a  telegram 
referring  to  the  death  of  W.  E. 
Gladstone.  It  took  the  fashion  at 

The  whole  of  the  civilised  world  will 
beweep  the  loss  of  the  great  statesman 
whose  political  views  were  so  widely 
humane  and  peaceful. — (Signed)  Nicholas. 

Bianca  Capellas  (E.  London).  An 
elegant  evasion  in  describing  White 
Chapellers — cigars  understood ;  a  very 
bad  brand. 

There  was  adjoining  this  a  smoking- 
room  or  salle  d'attente,  in  which  were 
some  stale  English  papers  and  the  odour 
of  equally  stale  cigars,  also  English — 
veritable  Bianca  Capellas — but  of  the 
sort  of  thing  that  we  wanted  there  was 
no  sign  whatever.—  Ref.,  6th  June  1886. 

Bible  Mill  (Com.  London,  19  cent.}. 
A  public-house.  An  attack  upon 
Bible  classes  :  said  of  noisy  talking  in 
a  tavern. 

Bible  Class,  Been  to  a  (Printers' 
Satire}.  A  gentleman  with  two  black 
eyes,  got  in  a  fight. 

Bi-cameral  (Polit.,  1885).  Two 
chambers,  Lords  and  Commons.  First 
heard  in  1885— used  satirically  by  the 
opponents  of  a  second  chamber. 

Mr  Labouchere  complained  that  of 
the  sixteen  members  of  the  Cabinet — 
thirteen  are  peers,  or  the  near  kinsmen 
of  peers.  This  fact  is  an  evil  resulting 
from  several  causes.  The  first  is  the 
bi-cameral  system,  to  adopt  the  con- 
venient pedantry  of  Continental  writers. 
— D.  N.,  9th  September  1885. 

Bi-cennoctury  (Theatrical,  1870). 
The  two  hundredth  night  of  a  run, 
with  which  explanation  we  leave  this 
marvellous  bit  of  etymology  to  the 
mercy  of  a  critical  world. 

Big  Beck  (Kent).  A  local  oath, 
e.g.,  'By  the  big  beck'— heard  only 
in  remote  places.  Probably  refers  to 
Thos.  a  Becket,  and  has  come  down 
from  his  canonized  bones.  Sometimes 
(still  in  Kent)  '  By  the  Blessed  Beck '. 
(See  More  blue). 


Big  Bird 


Big  Bird  (Theatrical}.  A  hissing 
figurative  reference  to  the  goose  (q.v.) 
— a  figure  in  itself  for  hissing;  e.g., 
'  Tom  had  the  big  bird  last  night,  and 
he  is  in  bed  this  morning.'  However, 
this  phrase  sometimes  has  another 
meaning.  At  the  Britannia  Theatre 
the  audiences  began  (about  1860)  to 
compliment  the  accomplished  villainy 
of  the  stage-villain  by  politely  hissing 
him  at  the  end  of  one  act,  to  prove 
how  well  he  had  played  the  scoundrel. 
This  thoroughly  indigenous  E.  London 
fashion  came  West  about  1878  where 
it  was  heard,  perhaps  at  the  Princess' 
for  the  first  time.  It  has  since  spread, 
notoriously  to  the  Adelphi  (when  still 
a  dramatic  house)  and  Drury  Lane  ; 
but  it  has  never  become  a  W.  London 
institution.  In  the  E.,  if  the  villain 
did  not  get  the  'big  bird',  he  would 
consider  that  he  was  not  on  a  par 
with  Titus,  and  that  he  had  lost  his 
day,  or  rather  evening,  and  he  might 
fear  for  the  renewal  of  his  engagement. 

Big  end  of  a  month  (Anglo- 

'The  "big  end  of  a  month"  is  three 
weeks.  I  heard  a  market  man-  speak  of 
the  "big  end  of  a  dozen"  chickens.' 

Big  Heap  (Amer.  —  old  mining 
districts).  A  large  sum  of  money — 
now  current  also  in  England. 

Sam  Adams  had  a  ben.  at  the  Pav. 
on  Thursday  night,  and  I  hope  he's 
made  a  big  heap  out  of  it. — Newsp. 

Big  Numbers  (Anglo-French;  old). 
Bagnios.  From  the  huge  size  of  the 
number  on  the  swinging  door,  never 
shut,  never  more  than  two  or  three 
inches  open.  The  English  grooms, 
stable-men,  and  their  like  in  France 
often  use  this  phrase :  '  Joe's  fond  o' 
the  big  numbers.'  'Tom  Four  can't 
run  over  to  the  old  home  for  Christmas 
— he's  left  too  many  of  Nap's  likenesses 
in  the  big  numbers.'  So  extensively 
known  throughout  Europe  was  the 
association  of  big  numbers  and  shady 
houses  that,  when  about  1880,  people 
began  to  place  the  numbers  of  their 
houses  on  their  fanlights,  for  night 
observation,  their  neighbours  were 
often  quite  unhappy  (for  a  time); 
while  even  now  many  people  shrink 
from  the  convenient  custom. 

Big  Pot  (Music-hall,  1878-82).  A 
leader,  supreme  personage,  the  '  don '. 


This  phrase  is  probably  one  of  the 
few  that  filter  down  in  the  world 
from  Oxford,  where,  in  the  50's  it  was 
the  abbreviation  of  potentate.  It 
referred  to  a  college  don,  or  a  social 
magnate.  It  has  remained  per- 
manently a  peoples'  phrase— the  pot 
being  associated  with  the  noblest 
pewter  in  a  public-house. 

'  Some  of  the  failures  you  meet  at  the 
"York"  will  try  to  impress  you  with 
the  fact  that  the  comic  singers  in  receipt 
of  big  salaries  have  made  their  reputa- 
tion by  means  of  "smut",  and  that  if 
they  (the  unsuccessful  ones)  were  to 
resort  to  a  similar  method  of  gaining 
the  applause  of  audiences,  the  ' '  big  pots 
would  not  be  in  it ".' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

The  'York'  is  an  hotel  in  the 
Waterloo  Road,  8.  London,  where 
music-hall  people  still  meet. 

Billy  born  drunk  (L.  London).  A 
drunkard  beyond  the  memory  of  his 

He  did  not  have  30  or  40  pots  of  beer 
that  day.  He  could  do  a  good  many,  but 
he  was  not  going  by  the  name  of  '  Billy 
born  drunk '. — People,  6th  January  1895. 

Billy-cock  (Provincial).  A  brimmed 
low,  felt  hat ;  a  modern  amelioration 
of  bully-cock,  a  term  now  having  little 
or  no  meaning,  e.g.,  '  Do  you  cock 
your  hat  at  me,  sir?'  was  the  reply 
to  this  challenge — the  cocking  of  the 
hat.  Other  authorities  hold  the  word 
to  refer  to  William  III.,  and  his  mode 
of  wearing  the  hat. 

Billygoat  in  Stays  (Navy,  1870-85). 
A  term  of  contempt :  probably  the 
outcome  of  the  astonishing  use,  by 
young  naval  officers,  of  waist-stays, 
during  or  about  these  years.  Intro- 
duced by  a  young  naval  officer  of  the 
highest,  who  afterwards,  on  shore, 
came  to  be  called  'cuffs'. 

Billy-ho  (Peoples',  Hist.).  In 
excelsis ;  suggests  extreme  vigour. 
May  be  from  a  proper  name,  '  Hough ' 
for  instance,  confounded  with  the  big 
'  0 '  so  commonly  used  as  a  suffix  to 
words  of  congratulation  —  as  '  What 
cheer  ho  ! '  '  What  ho  ! '  etc. 

The  Marquis  of  Salisbury  and  Mr 
Biggar  were  having  a  cigar  together. 
Said  the  Marquis  :  '  Weather  keeps  very 
dry ;  we  want  rain  badly.  I  think 
Canterbury  ought  to  issue  a  prayer  for 
it.'  'Arrah!  be  asy  wid  yer  Canter- 
bury,' exclaimed  Mr  Biggar;  'it's  just 
a  new  hat  I'll  be  afther  buying,  and  it's 

Billy  Turniptop 

Birmingham  School 

my  umbrella  I'll  be  lavin'  at  home,  and 
shure  it'll  rain  like  billy -ho  !  '—Ref.,  9th 
August  1885. 

Billy  Turniptop  (1890  sqq).  An 
agricultural  labourer.  Probably  an 
outgrowth  of  Tommy  Atkins. 

'Billy  Turniptop'  does  not  seem  a 
very  respectful  description  of  the 
agricultural  labourer,  especially  during 
election  times,  and  the  Unionist  candi- 
date for  Doncaster  has  been  sharply 
pulled  up  for  using  that  cognomen. 
His  explanation  was  that  he  was  only 
quoting  the  speech  of  a  representative 
of  the  opposite  party.— D.  T.,  10th  July 

Bin  (Harrogate}.  A  mineral  spring. 
Satire  based  upon  the  wine-cellar. 

It  is  considered  high  treason  at  Harro- 
gate to  drink  from  the  Old  Sulphur,  or 
any  other  'bin',  as  a  Scottish  robust 
invalid  calls  it,  without  first  consulting 
medical  authority .  —D.  N.  (Harrogate), 
31st  August  1883. 

Binder  (Lower  Class).  An  egg. 
Pint  o'  wash,  two  steps,  an'  a  binder ' 
— 'a  pint  of  tea,  two  slices  of  bread- 
and-butter,  and  an  egg.'  Alludes  to 
its  constipating  action. 

Bindery  (Amer.-Eng.,  1879).  A 
bookbinder's  workshop. 

The  word  'bindery',  a  new-comer  in 
England,  though  in  common  use  in 
Canada  and  the  United  States,  has 
recently  been  welcomed  with  something 
like  a  bonneting  by  correspondents  of 
Notes  and  Queries.— Newsp.  Cutting,  1879. 

Binned  (Lond.,  1883).  Hanged;  a 
ghastly  word,  referring  to  Bartholomew 
Binns,  a  hangman  appointed  in  1883. 

Bird  (Theatrical).  Hissing  —  the 
bird  being  the  goose  (q.v.),  whose 
general  statements  are  of  a  depreciatory 

Professor  Grant,  Q.C.,  had  both  'the 
bird '  and  '  the  needle '  at  the  Royal  on 
Monday. — Age,  January  1884. 

Pantomimes  and  Blackmailers. 
Threats  of  '  the  bird '.  Already  three  or 
four  of  the  most  prominent  artistes 
engaged  at  one  house  have  been  molested 
after  leaving  the  theatre  at  night,  and 
threatened  with  'the  bird' — that  is, 
hissing  —  unless  their  tormentors  are 
well  paid  to  remain  quiet. — People,  6th 
January  1895. 

Bird  ( Theatrical,  1 840).  A  figurative 
name  of  The  Eagle,  which  was  the  title 
of  the  tavern  and  pleasure-grounds  out 
of  which  grew  the  Grecian  Theatre, 
an  elegant  name  never  accepted  by  its 
patrons,  except  a  few  who  called  it 


the  Greek.  'Bird'  it  remained  until 
General  Booth  of  the  Salvation  Army 
bought  it  up  (1882).  To  this  day  an 
effigy  of  the  'bird'  surmounts  the 
main  building.  (See  Brit.,  Vic.,  Eff., 
Delphy,  Lane.) 

Birdlime  (Low  Class,  19  cent.). 
Nonsense-rhyme  for  '  time  '. 

We  have  been  awfully  stoney  in  our 
birdlime,  and  didn't  know  where  to  turn 
for  a  yannep,  so  we've  had  to  fill  up  our 
insides  on  something  less  than  two  quid 
a  week. 

Birdofreedomsaurin (Amer.).  Bird- 
of-freedom  soaring.  A  jocular  mode  of 
describing  the  altitude  of  the  American 
eagle.  Used  mildly  in  England  to 
deprecate  any  chance  American  extreme 
expression  of  patriotism. 

I  think  that  Prince  Louis  Napoleon 
was  over-dressed.  I  know  that  in  his 
green  or  purple  stock  (I  forget  which)  he 
wore  an  immense  breastpin  representing 
an  eagle  in  diamonds — not  the  eagle  with 
displayed  wings,  that  is,  the  American 
'  birdofreedomsaurin ' — but  an  aquiline 
presentment  with  the  wings  closed — the 
eagle  of  Imperial  sway. — G.  A.  Sala,  in 
D.  T.,  16th  June  1894. 

Birds  may  roost  in  my  bonnet, 

Any  (Devonshire).  Self  -  praise. 
Speaker  so  little  given  to  slander 
that  the  most  Aristophanic  birds  could 
carry  no  disparagement  of  hers  between 
heaven  and  earth;  e.g.,  'Don't  'ee 
b'lieve  it,  Mrs  Mog — any  bird  may 
a-roost  in  my  bonnet.'  '  A  little  bird 
told  me '  is  in  close  relation  with  this 
phrase.  The  origin  is  to  be  found  in 
Ecclesiastes,  x.  20.  « For  a  bird  of  the 
air  shall  carry  thee  voice,  and  that 
which  hath  wings  shall  tell  the  matter.' 
The  belief  that  birds  carry  messages 
between  earth  and  heaven  is  common 
to  all  countries  and  times.  In  Europe 
the  dove  and  the  robin  are  the  birds 
most  associated  with  this  charming 

Birmingham  School  (Soc.).  A 
polite  evasion  of  radical ;  e.g.,  '  We  do 
not  like  his  politics  at  the  Duke's — he 
belongs  too  thoroughly  to  the  Birming- 
ham School'— about  1885.  Since  then 
Birmingham  has  climbed  down  or  up  ; 
and  the  centre  of  radicalism  is  supposed 
to  be  Newcastle.  '  The  Newcastle 
Programme  should  be  backed  by  the 
Marquis  de  Carabas  ! '  (See  Newcastle 
Programme. ) 

Biscuit  and  Beer  Bet 

Bit  o'  Raspberry 

Biscuit  and  Beer  Bet  (Street,  19 
cent. ).  A  swindle — because  the  biscuit 
backer  invariably  loses,  it  being  in- 
tended that  he  should  lose — to  the 
extent  of  glasses  round,  for  instance. 
The  bet  is  as  follows :  that  one  youth 
(the  victim)  shall  not  eat  a  penny 
biscuit  before  his  antagonist  has 
swallowed  a  glass  of  beer  by  the  aid  of 
a  teaspoon  without  spilling  any  of  the 
beer.  The  biscuit  is  so  dry,  and  the 
anxious  bettor  so  fills  his  mouth  in 
the  desire  to  win  that  he  generally 
loses  ;  e.g.,  '  Yere's  a  mug— let's  biscuit 
an'  beer  'un.' 

Bismarck  (Political ;  South  German 
and  French,  1866).  A  term  of  con- 

A  good  story  is  told  of  a  Bavarian 
who,  quarrelling  the  other  day  with  one 
of  his  fellow-countrymen,  abused  him  in 
the  most  violent  language,  and,  after 
exhausting  a  very  extensive  vocabulary 
of  invectives,  at  last  called  him 
'  Bismarck  ! '  The  phlegmatic  German 
had  borne  all  previous  insults  with 
praiseworthy  patience;  but,  on  hearing 
himself  thus  apostrophised,  he  flew  into 
a  tremendous  passion,  and  cited  his 
enemy  before  the  courts.  He  was  non- 
suited on  the  plea  that  '  Bismarck '  is  a 
name,  and  does  not  necessarily  imply  an 
insult — at  least,  no  such  interpretation 
was  to  be  found  in  any  of  the  Bavarian 
law  precedents.  This  is  not  the  first 
time  that  the  name  of  a  Prime  Minister 
has  thus  been  popularly  applied  as  a 
term  of  contempt.  Under  the  Restora- 
tion it  was  a  common  incident  to  hear  a 
cabby  apostrophising  a  sulky  or  restive 
horse,  '  Va  done,  hS,  Polignac  ! '  and 
during  the  early  part  of  the  reign  of 
the  Grand  Monarque,  '  Mazarin '  was 
equivalent  to  the  refined  exclamation, 
'  You  pig  ! '  which  an  attentive  listener 
may  be  edified  by  hearing  exchanged  by 
the  gamins  of  Paris  in  the  present  year 
of  grace. — Morning  Star,  1867. 

After  1870,  Bismarck  was  'accepted' 
by  Bavaria. 

Bit-faker  (Thieves').  Counterfeit 
money  -  maker  —  from  '  bit ',  money, 
and  'fake',  to  make,  or  rather 
cunningly  to  imitate. 

Bit  o'  Beef  (Vulg.  19  cent.).  A 
quid  of  tobacco;  less  than  a  pipeful. 
A  playful,  or  possibly  a  grim,  reference 
to  tobacco-chewing  staying  hunger. 
(See  City  sherry  ;  Pound  o'  bacca.) 

Bit  o'  blink  (Tavern).  Drink- 
rhyming  slang. 

Bit  o'  crumb  (C.  L.,  1882).  A 
pretty  plump  girl— one  of  the  series 


of  words  designating  woman  imme- 
diately following  the  introduction  of 
1  jam  '  as  the  fashionable  term  (in  un- 
fashionable quarters)  for  lovely  woman. 
Then  Joe  fell  in  love  with  a  dona — oh, 
what  a  bit  of  crumb. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Bit  of  fat  from  the  eye,  Have  a 

(L.  Class).  Suggestive  of  compliment 
— this  phrase  being  seriously  used  at 
a  spread,  or  dinner  of  sheep's  head, 
the  orbits  of  the  eyes  being  lined  with 
a  fat  supposed  by  the  accustomed  con- 
sumer to  be  exceptionally  delicate. 

Bit  o'  grease  (Anglo- Ind.  Army). 
A  Hindoo  stout  woman  of  a  smiling 
character,  e.g. ,  '  She's  a  nice  bit  o'  grease 
— she  is.' 

Bit  of  haw-haw  (London  Tavern, 
1860  on).  A  fop.  Possibly  suggested 
by  the  hesitating  commencing  syllable 
used  by  many  well-bred  men — more 
frequently  from  modesty  or  caution 
than  from  any  sense  of  impressing  the 
idea  of  superiority. 

When  these  young  bits  of  haw-haw 
borrow  a  swallow  tail  coat  and  a  crook 
stick,  and  a  bit  of  window  to  shove  into 
their  weak  peepers,  and  then  go  into  the 
Gaiety  with  an  order,  strike  us  purple  if 
they're  not  at  their  best  then.  They 
know  all  the  actresses  of  course,  and  the 
way  they  talk  about  some  of  'em  would 
make  a  red  stinker  turn  blue. — Newsp. 

Bit  o'  jam  (1879).  A  pretty  girl- 
good  or  bad. 

He  kisses  me,  he  hugs  me,  and  calls 
me  his  bit  o'  jam,  and  then  chucks  me 
down  stairs  just  to  show  me  there's  no  ill 
feeling  ;  yet  I  love  him  like  anything. — 
Newsp.  Gutting. 

Everything  you  see  you  just  feel  you 
would  like  to  buy  and  take  it  home  to 
the  bit  of  jam. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Bit  o'  pooh  (  Workmen's}.  Flattery 
— generally  said  of  courtship — obtained 
very  oddly.  The  exclamation  '  pooh  ' 
generally  expressing  nonsense,  the 
phrase  suggests  flattering  courtship  or 

Bit  o'  prairie  (Strand,  1850  on).  A 
momentary  lull  in  the  traffic  at  any 
point  in  the  Strand,  so  that  the  tra- 
veller can  cross  the  road.  From  the 
bareness  of  the  road  for  a  mere  moment, 
e.g.,  'A  bit  o'  prairie — go.' 

Bit  o'  raspberry  (Street,  1883).  An 
attractive  girl.  When  '  jam  '  came  to 
be  used  to  describe  a  girl,  the  original 
double  intendre  suggested  by  a  comic 

Bit  oy  Red 


song  having  become  known— raspberry, 
as  the  most  flavoursome  of  conserves, 
was  used  to  describe  a  very  pretty 
creature.  Then  the  jam  was  dropped, 
and  the  '  bit  o '  affixed,  and  this  phrase 
became  classic. 

'  So,'  said  Bill,  '  you're  the  bloke  who's 
spliced  my  bit  o'  raspberry'. — Cutting. 

Bit  o' ^(Historical,  18  and  19  cent.}. 
A  soldier,  e.g.,  'A  bit  of  red  so  lights 
up  the  landscape.' 

Bit  o'  stuff  (Street,  19  cent.).  A 
lovely  woman  —  not  perhaps  of  a 
Penelope-like  nature — rarely  at  home. 

He  waited  for  a  bit  of  stuff  near  the 
stage  door  of  the  Comedy  Theatre.  He 
was  an  elderly  cove  and  he  had  great 
patience. — Cutting. 

Bit  o'  tripe  (L.  Class}.  One  of 
the  endearing  names  given  to  the  wife 
— probably  a  weak  rhyme. 

This  paper  always  comes  useful,  if  it's 
only  to  wrap  a  Billingsgate  pheasant  in 
to  take  home  to  the  bit  of  tripe.  — 

Bit  on,  To  have  a  (Sporting).  To 
have  a  bet  on — a  '  bit '  of  money  on — a 

I  hear  that  all  the  shining  lights  of 
the  music  hall  who  are  accustomed  to 
have  a  little  '  bit  on '  were  on  the  right 
side. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Bit  to  go  with  (Amer.  -  Eng.). 
Generosity  —  as  the  result  of  self- 
satisfied  superiority. 

An  American  railway  train  can  give 
most  things  in  this  world  a  bit  to  go 
with  in  the  way  of  noise.— Ref.,  20th 
February  1887. 

Bitch  the  pot  ( University,  down  to 
1850).  Amongst  a  tea-drinking  party 
of  men  it  was  asked,  '  Who'll  bitch 
the  pot  ? ' — meaning  who  will  pour  out 
the  tea. 

Bitched  (Printers').  Spoilt,  ruined, 
in  reference  to  type. 

Bite  the  tooth.  To  (Thieves').  To 
be  successful.  Origin  unknown. 

Bite-etite,  perhaps  Bity tite  (Peoples', 
E.  London).  Grotesque  substitution 
of  bite  for  the  first  four  letters  of 
'  appetite '.  (See  Drinkitite. ) 

Bite  off  more  than  one  can  chew 
(American  -  English).  Referring  to 
plug  tobacco,  and  meaning  that  the 
person  spoken  of  has  undertaken  more 
than  he  can  accomplish. 

Bits  of  Grey  (Soc.,  1880).  Elderly 
vietims  of  both  sexes  present  at  balls 


and  marriages,  especially  the  latter,  to 
give  an  air  of  staid  dignity  to  the 
chief  performers.  '  Don't  tell  me — we 
had  a  small  and  early,  all  young — 
most  miserable,  growling,  towering 
failure  I  ever  endured.  No  stir-up 
for  me  without  my  bits  of  grey.  They 
give  tone  to  the  whole  thing.' — Society 
Novel,  1883. 

Bits  o'  soap  (Com.  Land.,  1883). 
Charming  girls — of  a  kind. 

I  can  imagine  General  Booth  jumping 
in  his  boots  when  he  piped  that  article  in 
his  paper.  I  wonder  what  all  the  con- 
verted bits  o'  soap  thought  about  it. — 
Cutting,  1883. 

(Booth  became  the  self-appointed 
general  of  the  Salvation  Army,  1882-83.) 

Bitter  path  (Peoples',  19  cent.}. 
Emphatic  intensification  of  oath  ;  e.g., 
Til  take  my  bitter  oath.'  Oaths 
may  be  divided  into  two  classes — 
those  which  appeal  to  heaven,  as  '  By 
God',  and  those  which  relate  to  an 
antithesis,  as  '  By  hell ',  the  former 
being  the  better  oath.  The  masses, 
incapable  of  discriminating  one  kind 
from  the  other,  simplified  'better 
oath '  into  '  bitter  oath ',  as  possessing 
more  emphasis. 

Bitties  (Thieves'}.  Evasive  term 
for  skeleton -key  s. 

Bivvy  (London).  Beer  ;  evidently 
from  the  French  'buvez'  (Italian 
'  bevere ')  —  the  imperative  mood  of 
the  verb  being  applied  to  the  beer 
itself.  The  difficulty  is  to  find  the 
descent.  It  may  have  come  from 
French  prisoners  very  early  in  the 
nineteenth  century,  or  from  the  French 
colonies  in  Soho,  or  (more  likely)  from 
the  Italian  organ-grinding  regiment  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  Hatton  Garden. 

Black  and  white  (Thieves'  rhym- 
ing}. Night.  It  would  mean,  when 
used,  '  to-night '. 

Black-bagging  (1884).  Dynami- 
tarding — from  the  fact  that  where 
dynamite  proceedings  had  failed  at 
certain  rail  way- terminuses  the  explo- 
sive charges  were  found  in  black  bags. 

Five  thousand  pounds  reward  for  the 
discovery  of  the  perpetrators  of  the  out- 
rage at  London  Bridge  is  too  much.  It 
is  an  encouragement  to  others  to  go 
black-bagging.— Ref.,  4th  January  1885. 

Black-ball  ( Club,  1 9  cent. ).  To  reject 
by  ballot.  The  word  is  now  absolutely 
inappropriate,  though  still  used  by 

Block-bottle  Scene 

Black  Maria 

1  correct '  clubmen.  It  had  meaning 
when  club  elections  were  effected  by 
each  elector  being  given  one  white  and 
one  black  ball,  so  that  upon  opening 
the  ballot-box  the  colours  decided, 
black  naturally  being  a  negative.  So 
far  as  the  declaration  of  the  election 
was  concerned,  nothing  could  be  better 
than  this  mode ;  but  unfortunately 
every  elector  was  troubled  by  the  pos- 
session of  the  second  ball,  which  he 
might  drop  and  thereby  betray  his 
vote.  This  ball  the  voter  certainly 
would  have  some  inconvenience  in  de- 
positing, apart  from  the  watchfulness 
of  neighbouring  eyes.  Hence  the  new 
mode  of  club-balloting  with  a  box, 
having  a  hole  in  front  large  enough 
for  the  entrance  of  the  hand,  the 
bottom  of  the  box  being  divided  by  a 
high  partition,  while  the  outside  is 
marked  'Yes'  (or  'Ay')  and  'No' — 
referring  to  the  two  boxes  formed  by 
the  partition.  Only  one  ball  is  given 
to  each  voter,  and  thus  he  gets  rid  of 
his  responsibility  by  depositing  the 
ball  either  on  one  side  or  the  other. 
Unfortunately  nervous  voters  are  fre- 
quently fogged  the  moment  they  lose 
sight  of  the  right  hand,  while  the 
ballot-box-carrier  (where  it  is  carried, 
instead  of  being  placed  on  a  table 
for  the  approach  of  the  voter)  has  a 
frequent  habit  of  tilting  up  the  '  No ' 
side  of  the  box,  so  that  if  the  ball  is 
not  firmly  manipulated  when  inside 
the  palladium,  it  may  have  a  better 
chance  of  favouring  the  '  Ay '.  Even 
this  word  itself  is  a  difficulty,  for  its 
complication  between  '  ay '  and  '  ayes ', 
together  with  its  infrequency  except 
as  an  interjection,  helps  to  confuse 
timid  voters.  More  recently  the  ballot 
boxes  have  been  bearing  the  legends 
'yes',  'no'  —  the  affirmative  always 
preceding  the  negative. 

Black-bottle  Scene  (Dublin,  1822 
on).  Black  beer-bottle  throwing  at 
.  obnoxious  persons. 

On  the  14th  of  December  1822,  on  the 
occasion  of  the  Marquis  Wellesley,  visit- 
ing the  Theatre  Eoyal,  Dublin,  an 
organized  disturbance  on  the  part  of 
the  Orangemen  took  place,  in  resent- 
ment of  his  Excellency's  sympathy  with 
Catholic  Emancipation.  The  affray  is 
always  referied  to  as  the  'black-bottle' 
riot ;  a  black  bottle  having  been  flung 
at  the  Viceroy  by  an  Orangeman  in  the 
top  gallery.—  Newsp.  Cutting. 

On   any  other  occasion  the  incident 

might  have  passed  unnoticed,  but  now 
the  rumour  of  a  '  black  bottle '  scene 
was  in  every  one's  mind.  —  A .  M. 
Sullivan,  1877. 

Black  Eye  (American,  political  and 
social).  A  reverse,  especially  political. 

A  black  eye  for  Platt.— An  Albany 
jury  has  decided  that  Governor  Hill  was 
right,  and  Quarantine  Commissioner 
Platt  wrong,  and  that  the  latter  has  all 
along  been  a  resident  of  Owega,  while 
holding  office  in  New  York.—  N.  Y. 
Mercury.  15th  January  1888. 

Often  used  to  designate  theatrical 

This  inheritance  proved  a  black  eye 
to  all  concerned,  because  the  new  com- 
pany lacked  all  the  vocal  and  comedy 
requisites  for  a  successful  interpretation 
of  this  very  popular  work. 

Black  Ivory  (Slave  -  dealers).  A 
disguised  way  of  referring  to  negro 

Mr  Steyn,  a  former  Landdrost  of 
Potchefstroom,  in  both  letters  and 
speeches,  complained  that  'loads  of 
"black  ivory"  were  being  constantly 
hawked  about  the  country'. — F.  W. 
Chesson,  in  D.  N.,  5th  November  1883. 

Black  Jack  ( 1 9  cent. ).  A  black  port- 
manteau of  peculiar  make. 

William  Wall  deposed  that  he 
repaired  the  portmanteau  produced, 
and  recognised  Burton  as  the  man  who 
brought  it.  Burton  also  brought  another 
second-hand  portmanteau  called  in  the 
trade  '  Black  Jack '.  —  Dynamite  Case 
Report,  4th  March  1885. 

Blackleg  (Labour,  1889-90).  A 
non-striker  in  industry.  Blackleg  had 
long  been  used  for  a  swindler,  but  at 
this  date  it  was  first  applied  to  non- 
Union  men  or  non -strikers.  Directly 
used  in  relation  to  the  dock-strikes. 
Common  to  the  labouring  classes  by 
June  1890. 

It  will  be  seen  from  the  full  report 
of  the  situation,  which  we  print  else- 
where, that  the  present  stage  of  the 
conflict  turns  on  the  presence  of  the 
'  blackleg ',  to  use  the  designation  which 
the  Dock  labourers  first  popularised. — 
Chaos  in  the  Post  Office,  in  D.  N.,  10th 
July  1890. 

Black  Maria  (Thieves',  19  cent.). 
The  prison  van,  probably  Anglicizing 
'Black  V.R.',  this  public  conveyance 
being  ink-coloured,  and  bearing  V.R. 
on  each  side  of  it.  To  the  ignorant 
V.R.  would  have  no  meaning;  while 
Maria  would  ;  or  it  may  be  a  rhyming 
effort.  The  New  York  prison  van, 


Black-silk  Barges 

though  of  course  very  different  from  the 
English  carriage,  bears  the  same  name. 

He  'protested'  against  entering  the 
Black  Maria,  and  on  the  way  up  '  would 
not  admit'  that  he  was  going  to  the 
Workhouse,  but  by  this  time  he  prob- 
ably feels  at  home  up  there.—  N.  Y. 
Police  Report,  1883. 

Upon  the  death  of  Queen  Victoria, 
necessarily  the  initials  on  the  prison 
van  were  changed  to  E.R. — the  term 
for  the  vehicle,  however,  still  remain- 
ing. A  phrase  was  immediately  found 
for  E.R. — Energy  Rewarded — a  term 
accepted  by  even  the  nation,  with 
applause.  ( See  V.  R. ,  Virtue  Rewarded, 
Vagabonds  Removed,  Sardine  Box.) 

Black-silk  Barges  (Ball  -  room). 
Stout  women  who  ought  to  avoid 
dances.  They  dress  in  black  silk 
to  moderate  in  appearance  their 

'It's  time  I  sounded  a  retreat  from 
dancing  —  I've  had  to  dance  with 
seventeen  black-silk  barges  this  blessed 
evening.  Never  again — never  again.' 

Black  Strap  (Peoples',  Old  English). 
Port  wine.  A  corruption  of  '  black 
stirrup  '  cup.  Sherry  or  sack  (the  first 
a  corruption  of  Xeres,  the  second,  an 
abbreviation,  was  always  white  wine ; 
clarets  and  burgundies  red ;  port  black). 
The  stirrup  cup  was  always  potent. 
The  passage  from  black  stirrup  to 
black  strap  is  too  evident  when  port 
came  amongst  the  people  —  more 
accustomed  to  strap  than  the  stirrup. 
To  this  day  strap  is  used  for  port. 

Blank  please  (American).  A 
negative  euphemism  for  the  unending 
'  damned '  —  with  a  polite  request 

.  .  .  that  matter  -  of  -  fact  business 
manager  of  ours  says  that,  although  we 
may  put  what  we  blank  please  in  the 
editorial  columns,  he  won't  put  a  six- 
inch  display  in  the  advertising  end  of 
the  paper  for  less  than  several  hundred 
dollars  cash,  quarterly  in  advance. — 
Texas  Siftings. 

Blarney  (Irish).  Flattery.  The 
Blarney  stone  is  a  protruding  one, 
standing  out  from  below  a  ruined 
window  of  ruined  Blarney  Castle 
(near  Cork).  Whoever  kisses  this 
stone,  a  very  difficult  feat,  and  one 
which  requires  help  and  strong  hold- 
ing hands  while  the  aspirant  leans 
over  and  down  into  space,  is  supposed 
to  possess  for  ever  after  the  gift  of 
successful  flattery. 

The  traditions  respecting  the  kissing 
of  the  Blarney  stone,  to  impart  to  the 
devotee  a  peculiar  suavity  of  speech,  is 
about  three  hundred  years  old.  — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Blase  (Fr.,  1840).  Wearied,  bored. 
Brought  to  England  with  a  farce 
called  L'Homme  Blast,  subsequently 
produced  for  Wright  (Princess  Theatre), 
in  which  version  this  actor  was  called 
Blase.  Succeeded  by  'bored'  about 

Bleed  (Peoples').  A  perversion  of 
the  word  'blood',  as  She'll  have 
his  bleed' — usually  said  of  a  woman 
who  is  rating  her  husband. 

Blenheim  Cloud  (Polit.).  The 
influence  of  the  Dukes  of  Marlborough 
over  Woodstock,  which  lies  in  the 
shadow  of  Blenheim. 

Against  this  the  more  sanguine  point 
to  the  advantage  of  being  free  from 
what  they  call  'the  Blenheim  cloud', 
the  Duke  having  formally  declared  that 
he  takes  no  part  in  this  election,  and 
that  all  his  people  are  free  to  vote  as 
they  choose.— D.  N.,  1st  July  1885. 

Blenheim    Pippin,     The    (Polit., 

1883).  An  application  of  the  name 
of  a  known  variety  of  pippins,  always 
a  small  apple,  to  describe  Lord 
Randolph  Churchill,  a  diminutive 
man,  who,  as  a  son  of  a  Duke  of 
Marlborough,  was  associated  with 
Blenheim,  the  family  seat  in  Oxford- 

.  .  .  the  Tories  are,  as  a  rule,  fol- 
lowers of  the  strongest ;  and  after  the 
Blenheim  Pippin's  latest  manifesto  they 
will  hardly  know  whether  to  throw  in 
their  lot  with  Tweedledum  or  Tweedle- 
dee.— Entr'acte,  7th  April  1883. 

Bless  me  soul  (Peoples').  Bless  me 
—Saul.  Probably  one  of  the  few 
Puritanic  exclamations — all  of  which 
were  Biblical,  *  Bless  me,  or  my,  soul ' 
is  nonsense,  as  it  stands— for  who 
blesses  ?  Hence  probably  arose  '  God 
bless  my  soul '.  But  this  phrase  is 
also  meaningless,  for  the  soul  needs  no 
blessing.  '  God  bless  me '  is  reason- 
able. But  here, '  soul '  is  the  important 
word.  In  this  conversation  it  should 
be  remembered  that  Saul  was  held  in 
high  Puritanic  esteem— as  a  patriarch 
of  much  power. 

Blessing  (Irish).  Gratuity.  Poetic 
way  of  putting  it ;  will  contrast  with 
'backsheesh'  (q.v.)  'Sure,  he's  a  man 
gives  me  a  blessing  every  time  he 


Blew,  To 


passes  without  pretending  not  to  see 
me,  he  does.'  In  Devonshire  a 
'blessing'  is  a  handful  thrown  in, 
e.g.,  'Plase  to  give'  us  a  half-peck  o' 
pays,  and  give  us  a  blessing.' 

Blew,  To  (Com.  Land.).  To 
dissipate.  This  word  is  by  no  means 
to  '  blow  ',  but  is  suggested  by  '  blue '. 
*  I  blewed '  (or  '  blew ')  means  '  I 
spent',  and  probably  is  suggested  by 
the  dismal  blue  appearance  of  a  man, 
penniless  and  recovering  from  a 
drunken  fit.  The  word  was  turned 
to  very  droll  account  by  a  comic- 
singer,  Herbert  Campbell,  in  1881. 
A  medicinal  pad  to  be  worn  over  the 
liver  was  very  much  advertised ;  and 
a  half  life-size  cut  of  a  masculine  and 
healthy  patient  with  the  'liver  pad* 
in  situ  created  a  great  deal  of  comment. 
The  singer  put  both  together  and 
came  out  with  a  ballad.  '  Herbert 
Campbell's  favourite  song  now  is 
called  "  Clara  blued  her  Liver  Pad" ', 
meaning  that  she  had  sold  her  speci- 
men and  spent  the  proceeds  in  drink — 
for  you  only  '  blew '  money  when  you 
do  spend  it  in  drink. 

In  about  an  hour  he  reached  the 
Strand,  and  in  less  than  another  hour 
he  had  blewed  his  half-a-dollar,  so  he 
sat  on  a  doorstep  and  wept  as  only  boys 
who  have  run  away  from  home  and 
have  got  the  stomach-ache  can  weep. — 

Blewed  his  red  'un  (Peoples'). 
'Red  'un'  is  an  anglicization  of 
'  redding '  (a  thieves')  word  for  a 
watch,  probably  the  name  of  a  watch- 
receiver.  The  phrase  therefore  means 
'  Spent  in  drink  the  money  raised  on 
his  watch.'  Here  brevity  is  indeed 

Blighter  (TJieat.,  1898).  An  actor 
of  evil  omen :  it  took  the  place  of 
Jonah  (q.v.). 

'I  never  care  about  acting  in  a  play 
which  is  likely  to  fail.  Look  at  Jones. 
Splendid  actor,  but  he  has  been  con- 
nected with  so  many  failures  that  he 
has  got  to  be  known,  as  a  blighter,  and 
no  one  will  engage  him.' — Cutting. 

Blind  Hookey  (Peoples').  A  leap 
in  the  dark;  e.g.,  'Oh,  it's  Blind 
Hookey  to  attempt  it.'  From  a  card 
game.  The  centre  card  is  the  banker's 
— the  players  put  money  against  either 
of  the  four  other  cards.  If  the  dealer's 
centre  card  is  the  highest  of  the  five 
he  takes  all  the  bets.  If  his  card  is 
the  lowest,  he  pays  all  four. 

Blink.     See  Bit  o'  blink. 

Blister,  To  (Peoples',  1890  on). 
To  punish  with  moderation  :  a  modi- 
fication of  'to  pound';  e.g.,  Til  blister 
'im  when  I  ketch  'im'— a  promise  of 
listing.  Used  chiefly  by  cabmen  in 
relation  to  magisterial  fines,  e.g.,  'I 
was  blistered  at  Bow  Street  to-day  for 
twenty  hog.' 

Blizzard  Collar  (Soc.,  1897).  A 
high  stand-up  collar  to  women's 
jackets,  coats.  Suggestive  of  cold 

I  must  mention  the  very  pretty  Russian 
vests  of  fur  that  our  elegantes  have  now 
adopted.  They  are  tightly  fitting,  and 
fasten  on  the  side ;  they  have  a  short 
basque  all  round,  a  blizzard  collar,  and 
a  fancy  belting  of  jewelled  enamelled 
plaques.— D.  T.,  16th  January  1897. 

Bloater  (Peoples').  An  abbrevia- 
tion of  Yarmouth  bloater :  a  fat 
person.  From  the  fact  that  the  first 
smoking  process  applied  to  the  herring 
results  in  a  remarkable  swelling,  which 
afterwards  abates. 

If  intended  for  immediate  eating,  the 
herring  is  taken  down  after  one  firing, 
when  it  is  swelled  and  puffed  out  like  a 
roasted  apple.  It  is  then  known  to  the 
true  East  Anglian  as  a  blowen-herring— 
the  word  bloater  is  rejected  by  philo- 
logists at  a  foreign  corruption — and  here 
you  probably  have  the  true  etymology 
of  the  familiar  word.  —  Yarmouth,  by 
W.  Norman  (Yarmouth,  1883). 

Blob  (Cricket,  1898).  No  runs. 
'  Blob '  has  taken  the  place  of  '  duck ', 
or  '  duck's  egg '. 

Block  (Scotch  Thieves',  1868).  A 
policeman  in  one  syllable. 

I  think  it  would  be  a  good  idea  for 
my  mother  to  get  the  block  privately 
and  make  an  appeal  to  him  ;  he  would 
have  a  little  feeling  for  her,  I  think.— 
Dundee  garotter's  letter,  1868. 

Block  (Linen  Drapers').  A  name 
applied  curiously  to  the  young  lady  of 
fine  shape  who  in  the  mantle  depart- 
ment tries  on  for  the  judgment  of  the 
lady  customer. 

Block  a  quiet  pub.  (Peoples').  To 
stop  a  long  time  in  a  tavern ;  e.g.,  'I 
don't  care  for  theayters  or  sing-songs  ; 
but  I  like  to  block  a  quiet  pub. ',  said 
the  commercial ;  i.e.,  to  remain  quietly 
drinking  in  an  out-of-the-way  public 
house.  Generally  said  of  a  sot. 

Bloke  (Lower  Classes,  19  cent).  A 
friendly  soul,  inclined  to  be  charitable. 


Bloody  Carpet  Rags 

This  word  has  not  the  objectionable 
meaning  it  is  often  supposed  to  possess. 
On  the  contrary,  it  is  mighty  affec- 
tionate;  e.g.,  'Got  a  bit  o'  bacca, 
bloke  ? '  if  asked  you  in  the  streets 
is  by  no  means  offensively  said.  It  is 
less  than  'gentleman',  more  than 
'  mate '.  '  He's  a  proper  bloke '  is 
simply  a  paean. 

Bloke  is  also  a  lover,  or  even  an 

Master  Edward  Graham,  aged  eight, 
and  Miss  Sarah  King,  aged  nine, 
appeared  at  Bow  Street  as  inseparable 
and  incorrigible  beggars  in  the  Strand. 
'  Sally  and  her  bloke '  is  said  to  be  the 
unpoetical  designation  of  the  pair  in  the 
Strand.—  D.  N.,  1882. 

In  universities,  an  outsider,  a  mere 
book-grubber, e.g. ,  'Balliol  mere  blokes. 
But  they  carry  off  everything.'  (See 
Old  Put,  Muff.) 

Blood  (Old).  By  our  Lord— one  of 
the  old  Catholic  exclamations. 

Blood — it  is  almost  enough  to  make 
my  daughter  undervalue  my  sense.  — 
Fielding,  Tom  Jones,  bk.  vii.,  ch.  4. 

The  extended  form  is  '  bloody ' — 
by  our  lady — an  asseveration  referring 
to  the  Virgin,  which  becomes  an 
apostrophe  in  the  shape  'What  the 
bloody  hell' — 'By  our  lady,  hail.' 
'  What'  thus  appears  to  be  a  Protestant 
addition.  About  1875,  when  the  Lon- 
don School  Board  had  influenced  the 
metropolis  for  some  half  dozen  years 
— this  word  and  phrase  were  super- 
seded by  'blooming',  a  sheer  evasion 
which  has  survived  the  nineteenth 
century,  and  has  quite  passed  into  the 
lower  layers  of  the  language.  In  18th 
century  literature  may  be  found  the 
form  '  blady  hell ',  which  suggests  the 
origin  very  forcibly. 

Some  actors  have  been  known  to 
mutilate  the  speech  in  Macbeth,  'Be 
bloody,  bold,  and  resolute',  lest  it 
should  suggest  the  inconceivably  wicked 
thought,  'Be  bloody-bold,  and  resolute  '. 
Now  this  extremely  shocking  word  is 
nothing  more  nor  less  than  a  corruption 
of  '  By'r  lady '.  How  little  do  the  dregs 
of  our  population,  who,  when  they  hurl 
out  the  word,  imagine  that  it  contains 
some  frightful  explosive,  dream  that 
they  are  appealing  to  the  Virgin. — D.  T. 

Blood  and  'ounds  (Irish).  Blood 
and  wounds  (Christ's) — an  old  pro- 
nunciation rhyming  with  '  pounds ' ; 
e.g.,  'Blood  an'  'ounds  —  how  the 
blood  runs  out  uv  'un  thin.'  This 
phrase  is  a  good  example  of  the 

anglicization  of  words  whose  original 
meanings  are  from  various  causes  lost. 
Probably  most  of  the  Catholic  adjura- 
tions have  been  applied  in  the  same 
such  manner  as  this. 

Blood  Ball  (London  Tr.).  The 
butchers'  annual  hopser,  a  very  lusty 
and  fierce-eyed  function.  The  female 
contingent  never  wear  crimson  —  as 
being  too  trady.  (See  Bung  Ball. ) 

Blood  Hole  (E.  London,  1880).  A 
theatre  in  Poplar. 

The  irreverent  ones  of  the  district, 
whenever  they  mentioned  the  place, 
called  it  '  The  Blood  Hole  '—in  allusion, 
I  presume,  to  the  style  of  drama  pre- 
sented.— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Blood  or  Beer  (Street).  A  challenge 
to  fight  or  stand,  i.e.,  'pay  for'  malt 
refreshment.  A  jocular  phrase  border- 
ing on  bullying.  Real  fighting  is 
inducted  by  the  phrase  '  Take  off  your 
coat ' !  This  is  serious.  '  Come  on, 
ruffian.  It's  blood  or  beer ' — is  simply 
friendly  suggestion. 

Bloods  (Lowest  Glasses)  Wall- 
flowers, from  a  not  too  clear  association 
of  colours.  A  higher  figure  of  speech 
than  Bugs  (q.v.),  but  still  painfully 
disgusting  in  association  with  this 
fresh  -  breathed  blossom.  '  Bloods, 
bloods— penny  a  bunch,  bloods.' 

Bloods  (Navy).  Sailor  boys'  title 
for  '  Penny  Dreadfuls '. 

They  expect  lots  of  blood,  wonderful 
adventures,  gruesome  illustrations,  and 
a  good  deal  of  cheap  sentiment',  and 
they  get  it.  As  they  get  older,  their 
tastes  change.  —  Rev.  G.  Goodenough, 
Navy  Chaplain. 

Blood-worms  (London,  19  cent.). 
Sausages  in  general,  but  a  black- 
pudding  of  boiled  hog's  blood  in 
particular.  'S  'elp  me  sivvy,  I've 
come  down  to  blood- worms.'  (See 
Sharp's  Alley.) 

Bloody  carpet  rags  (Amer.,  im- 
ported to  Liverpool).  A  mutilated 

All  of  a  sudden  the  burly  coloured 
man  drew  a  razor  from  his  pocket  and 
started  for  the  light-weight  with  the 
remark  that  he'd  make  bloody  carpet 
rags  of  him.— Newsp.  Gutting. 

It  should  be  added  that  the  razor 
is  the  American  negro's  favourite 
weapon,  carried  as  a  rule  in  a  high 
boot  —  something  after  the  manner 
of  a  Scotch  dirk  in  a  Scotch  sark. 


Blooming  Emag 


Blooming  Emag  (Street,  1870). 
Back  spelling  :  '  Emag '  is  '  game '. 
Selfishness  in  its  perfect  degree. 

There  nothing  like  cheek,  yobs,  what- 
ever you're  blooming  emag  may  be. 
But  be  honest,  even  if  you  have  to  go 
out  nailing  to  be  honest. — Cutting. 

Blopmeration  (London,  1891).  Illu- 
mination. First  heard  9th  November 
at  Prince  of  Wales'  illuminations. 

Blooming  little  holiday  (Lowest 
Peoples').  Saturnalia  —  liberty  to  be 
free,  to  be  perfectly  tyrannical. 

An  English  defeat  and  panic,  on 
English  soil,  would  seem  to  the  English 
rough  the  very  beginning  of  the  mil- 
lennium, or,  in  his  own  language,  '  a 
blooming  little  holiday.' — Newsp.  Cutting) 

Blouser  (obscure).  To  cover  up,  to 
hide,  to  render  nugatory,  e.g.,  'Joe — 
you  won't  blouser  me  Vs  From  the 
French,  evidently.  Probably  used  in 
an  anti  -  Gallican  spirit,  when  the 
blouse  first  appeared  to  cover  over 
an  honest  Englishman's  waistcoat ;  or 
it  may  be  from  the  court  of  Charles  II. 

The  Army  is  warned  that  the  clergy 
will  try  to  'blouser'  or  mislead  them, 
and  to  persuade  people  to  refuse  the  use 
of  halls,  while  all  the  time  professing 
interest  in  the  Army's  holy  labours. — 
Newsp.  Cutting  (about  1881). 

Blow  (Peoples'}.  To  boast— from  the 
noise  made  when  a  whale  blows  water 
through  and  up  from  the  nostrils,  with 
much  noise.  Introduced  by  sailors  in 
the  whale  trade,  common  to  England 
and  America,  and  still  surviving 
amongst  the  lower  classes.  A  good 
example  of  a  word  arising  from  a  new 
industry  and  passing  away  with  it. 

About  the  veracity  of  big  game 
shooters,  one  is  sometimes  obliged  to 
feel  now  and  then  a  lingering  doubt. 
They  might  remind  an  Australian  reader 
of  '  him  who  tried  to  blow ',  in  a  well- 
known  line  of  a  modern  poet.  '  Blow ', 
it  may  be  necessary  to  explain,  is  the 
Australian  equivalent  for  'brag'  or 
4  boast '.  Thus  Othello  '  blew  '  in  the 
account  of  his  adventures  with  which 
he  obliged  Desdemona.  —  D.  N.,  25th 
February  1885. 

'  Blow '  and  '  blow  upon '  are  some- 
times still  used  in  their  old  form,  in 
the  sense  of  to  expose  or  betray. 

All  he  asks  is  to  pass  him  along  his 
plate  with  whatever  happens  to  be  handy 
round  the  pantry,  and  he  won't  go  away 
and  blow  how  poor  the  steak  is.  He 

just  eats  whatever  is  set  before  him,  and 
asks  no  questions. — Cutting. 

Blow  me  tight  (Peoples').  Below 
me  with  a  firm  hand— that  is,  sent  to 
Hades.  Used  generally  as  a  protest 
on  the  part  of  the  speaker,  and  an 
assurance  of  truth.  Generally  followed 
by  'if,  and  sometimes  'but'.  He 
means  that  he  is  willing  to  be  damned 
if  he  lies. 

It  was  reckoned  out  we'd  get  to 
Brighton  at  six  o'clock  last  Saturday, 
blow  me  tight. — Cutting. 

Blow-out  (Peoples').  Dissipation — 
literally  stretching  the  digestive 

At  the  end  of  a  month  a  miner  finds 
himself  in  possession  of  from  £25  to  £30, 
and,  as  a  corollary,  has  what  he  calls  '  a 
blow-out'. — Newsp.  Cutting,  1883. 

Blowing  (Thieves').  'A  pick- 
pocket's trull ',  quotes  Byron  in  a 
note  to  the  line  '  Who  on  a  lark 
with  black-eyed  Sal  (his  blowing)' 
(Don  Juan,  ca.  xi.  st.  19).  Some- 
times '  blowen '. 

Blowsa-bella  (TJieat.  18  cent.).  A 
vulgar,  self-assertative  woman,  gener- 
ally stout.  Blowsa  is  probably  from 
the  French  '  blouser ',  a  verb  got  from 
'  blouse ',  meaning  to  attract  by 
gutter  arguments.  Bella  is  of  course 
an  abbreviation  of  Isabella,  and  the 
whole  phrase  probably  would  mean 
a  vulgar  woman  of  the  people  giving 
herself  false  airs  of  grandeur.  The 
Daily  News  (22nd  Feb.  1883)  throws 
perhaps  some  light  on  the  word  in 
reference  to  the  Salvation  Army. 

Bluchers  (Mid.  Class-,  1815  on). 
Plural  of  blucher,  referring  to  the 
commonest  of  boots.  From  General 
von  Bliicher,  the  Prussian  general-in- 
chief  at  the  battle  of  Waterloo. 
When  some  clever  bootmaker  invented 
the  now  extinct  Wellington  boots,  a 
humble  imitator  followed  with  the 
handy  Blucher,  and  made  quite  a 
large  fortune  out  of  this  idea — and 
the  boots  —  the  most  frequent  name 
for  workmen's  boots  known  to  Britons, 
who  have  found  this  manufacture  a 
handy  weapon.  (See  Wellingtons.) 

Blue  (Old  English).  Dismal  — 
evidently  from  the  appearance  of  the 
countenance  when  showing  anxiety  or 
mistrust — as  distinct  from  red  anger. 
In  this  sense  it  is  used  in  U.S.A.  to 


Blue  Blanket 

Blue  Moon 

this  day ;  e.g.,  'This  news  will  make 
our  return  to  Yonkers  rather  blue', 
i.e.,  melancholy.  It  will  be  found 
temp.  George  III.  in  a  ballad, 
published  in  Dublin  by  Trojanus 
Laocoon,  called  The  All -devouring 
Monster ;  or  New  Five  per  0 — t,  a 
satirical  work  which  attacked  a  pro- 
ject, dating  from  England,  of  course, 
to  put  a  duty  of  5  per  cent,  upon 
all  imports.  Here  is  a  triplet  from 
the  ballad  in  question  : 
The  effects  of  the  Tax  will  soon  make 

us  look  Blue, 
Its  nature,  its  drift  being  known  but 

to  few ; 
Reverse  of  the  Glass  Act — this  all  men 

saw  through. 

In  England,  19th  century,  'blue' 
has  been  abandoned  as  describing 
melancholy,  owing  to  its  new  meaning 
—  one  of  vulgar,  coarse,  double  en- 
tendre', e.g.,  'Have  you  got  any  new 
blue?'  may  be  asked  by  one  who 
is  athirst  for  erotic  entertainment. 
Perhaps  comes  in  some  obscure  way 
from  the  French,  where  a  bluette 
certainly  means  a  short  song,  which 
skirts  the  wind  of  impropriety.  The 
earlier  meaning  of  blue  is  however  still 
sometimes  applied. 
And  yet,  though  things  are  all  so  blue, 

it's  funny, 

My  missus  never  lets  me  blue  the  money. 
—Elephant  and  Castle  pantomime,  1882. 

Blue  Blanket  (Peoples',  19  cent.). 
The  sky.  'I  slept  under  the  blue 
blanket  last  night.  (See  Bengal 

Blue  Caps  (Indian  Mutiny,  1857). 
Dublin  Fusiliers. 

The  Dublin  Fusiliers  are  'The  Blue 
Caps'.  A  despatch  of  Nana  Sahib  was 
intercepted,  in  which  he  referred  to 
'  those  blue-capped  English  soldiers  who 
fight  like  devils '.  The  name  stuck.  At 
the  Siege  of  Lucknow  the  bridge  of 
Char  Bagh  was  raked  by  four  guns  and 
defended  on  the  flanks  by  four  others. 
'Who  is  to  carry  it?'  asked  Outram. 
'  My  Blue  Caps ',  replied  Havelock  ;  and 
they  did.— Rev.  E.  J.  Hardy. 

Blue  Damn.  Evasive  swearing. 
Celestial  curse — the  blue  referring  to 
the  sacred  purple  blood  of  the  Crucified. 

Blue  Funk  (Pub.  Sch.).  Absolute 
panic— from  the  leaden  colour  of  the 
skin  when  the  owner  is  beyond  ques- 
tion afraid. 

Of  Mr  Weedon  Grossmith's  assumption 


it  may  be  further  said  that  it  is  calcu- 
lated to  develop  his  most  approved  strain 
of  humour,  which  in  schoolboy  parlance 
is  known  as  blue  funk.—  People,  28th 
February  1897. 

He  will,  no  doubt,  tell  people  at  home 
that  he  left  the  Soudan  because  he  was 
invalided.  That  is  not  the  case.  He 
left  us  because  he  was  in  a  blue  funk. — 
D.  T.,  6th  July  1897. 

Blue  Grass  (Amer.).  People  of 
Kentucky— from  the  peculiar  tint  of 
the  grass. 

The  Kentucky  correspondent  of  the 
Cincinnati  News  -  Journal  is  evidently 
hard  hit.  This  is  what  he  writes :  When 
the  Bona  Dea,  out  of  her  bounteousness, 
makes  a  Bluegrass  woman,  she  takes  care 
never  to  spoil  the  job.  A  soft,  white, 
warm  body,  translucent  with  divine 
light,  and  curving  to  lines  of  beauty 
as  naturally  as  the  tendrils  of  a  vine, 
is  the  groundwork  upon  which  nature 
limits  the  human  angel.  .  .  .  The  brow 
of  Juno  and  the  bust  of  Hebe  ;  the  sea- 
nymph's  pearly  ear,  the  wood-nymph's 
springy  step — these  are  a  few  of  the 
charms  nature  gives  the  maiden  of  the 
Bluegrass.—  Newsp.  Cutting. 

Even  accepted  as  the  title  of  a  paper. 

Blasphemous  Libel. — Louisville  (Ky.), 
21st  April.— Mr  C.  E.  Moore,  Editor  of  a 
newspaper,  published  here,  known  as 
The  Blue  Grass  Blade,  and  who  has  been 
in  prison  for  the  last  fortnight.—  Newsp. 

Blue  Grass  Belle.  A  Kentuckian 

While  down  in  Kentucky  last  Fall, 
buying  horses,  he  tipped  a  wink  at  a 
blue  grass  belle.— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Blue-handled  Rake.  The  railing 
and  steps  leading  to  the  platform  of 
a  fair-booth  stage. 

Blue  Hen's  Chick  (Devonshire).  A 
clever  soul,  e.g.,  'You're  a  blue  hen's 
chick  hatched  behind  the  door ' — said 

Blue  Jack  (Nautical).  Cholera 
morbus— from  the  colour  of  the  skin 
in  this  disease.  (See  Yellow  Jack.) 

Blue-jacket  (Peoples',  19  cent.).  A 
sailor — given  from  the  colour  of  jacket. 
(See  Lobster,  Robin  Redbreast.) 

Blue  Moon  (General,  in  all  classes). 
Absolutely  lost  in  mystery,  but  prob- 
ably an  Anglicism  of  a  word  or  words 
with  which  neither  '  blue '  nor  '  moon ' 
has  anything  to  do.  It  imports 
indefinite  futurity.  Possibly  meaning 

Blue  Noses 

Blue  Roses 

'  never ',  because  a  blue  moon  is  never 

'  I  ain't  a  going  to  make  a  speech ', 
said  he,  in  a  voice  husky  with  emotion, 
'  because  if  I  was  to  jaw  till  a  blue  moon 
I  couldn't  tell  you  more  about  her  we've 
been  and  buried  than  you  know  already.' 
— 'Cadgers  in  Mourning',  D.  T.,  8th 
February  1863. 

Blue  Noses  (American).  Canadians 
— obviously  from  the  force  of  sharp 
weather  on  the  Canadian  nose.  Prob- 
ably contemptuous. 

In  Nova  Scotia,  has  died  a  centenarian 
who  had  fought  under  Nelson  and  under 
Wellington.  Did  a  grateful  people 
follow  the  hero  to  the  grave  with  proud 
tears?  Not  much.  John  Aberton  was 
buried  in  a  rough  box  on  the  day  he 
died.  There  were  no  prayers,  no  funeral 
procession,  no  formalities,  but  the  old 
patriot  received  the  burial  of  a  dog. 
This  ought  to  make  recruiting  brisk  in 
Canada  and  incite  the  blue  noses  to 
volunteer  in  a  mass  to  defend  Queen 
Victoria's  codfish. — N.  Y.  Mercury,  1st 
January  1895. 

Blue  o'clock  in  the  morning 
(Street}.  Pre-dawn,  when  black  sky 
gives  way  to  purple.  Rhyming  fancy, 
suggested  by  two  o'clock  in  the  morn. 
Suggestive  of  rollicking  late  hours. 

The  birdcatcher  has  often  to  be  up 
f  at  blue  o'clock  in  the  morning '.  The 
rime  is  on  the  grass  when  he  lays  his 
nets.  It  is  bitterly  cold  standing  about 
in  the  fields.— D.  N.t  12th  October  1886. 

Blue  Pencil  (To)  (Theat.,  1885  on). 
Cutting  down  literature — first  applied 
to  dramatic  pieces.  From  the  colour 
of  the  pencil  used.  c  More  blue  pencil ', 
said  Mr  Tree — it  is  the  only  way  of 
writing  a  successful  piece. 

The  actor  will  have  a  better  chance 
after  the  blue  pencil  has  eliminated  the 
unnecessary  verbiage  in  the  dialogue. — 
D.  N.y  17th  February  1899. 

Blue  Pig  (Maine,  U.S.A. ).  Whisky. 
Maine  is  a  temperance  state,  therefore 
liquor  has  to  be  asked  for  under  various 
strange  names,  which  have  generally 
been  satirically  distinguished  by  a 
strange  contradiction  in  their  com- 
ponent parts,  as  in  this  instance.  The 
phrase  common  in  Liverpool. 

There  have  been  remarkable  animals 
discovered  in  Maine  before  now — to  wit, 
striped  and  blue  pigs  and  Japanese  dogs 
of  scarlet  hue.  These  creatures,  however, 
have  usually  been  found  to  be  of  the 
genus  stalking  -  horse  —  that  is,  they 
merely  served  as  screens  for  the  sale 
of  prohibited  intoxicating  fluids. — D.  N. 


Blue  Ribbonite  (M.  Class,  1880). 
A  sort  of  pun  between  'nite'  and 
'knight',  and  one  which  gave  the 
phrase  rapid  popularity.  Outcome  of 
the  custom  of  wearing  a  blue  ribbon 
on  left  breast  of  coat  to  demonstrate 
that  the  wearer  was  an  abstainer. 

With  respect  to  the  inconsistencies  in 
the  man  who  married  Miss  Dash  drinking 
champagne  and  port,  it  should  be 
remembered  that  he  had  not  taken  the 
pledge,  and  that  he  was  concealing  his 
identity.  Besides,  he  said  before  the 
wedding  breakfast  that  he  was  almost 
a  blue-ribbonite — Brighton  Bigamy  Case, 
20th  and  24th  October  1885. 

Blue  Ribbon  Fakers  (London, 
1882).  The  progress  of  abstinence 
principles,  practically  started  by 
Father  Mathews  (1815-71),  is  very 
interesting.  The  original  abstainers 
made  no  daily  public  parade  of  their 
principles,  and  were  not  forbidden 
to  associate  with  men  who  drank 
fermented  liquors,  or  to  have  *  drinks ' 
in  the  house,  or  to  pay  for  drinks. 
Then  followed  the  Good  Templars 
(1860),  who  prohibited  their  followers 
from  paying  for  others'  alcoholic 
drinks,  from  having  liquor  in  the 
house,  or  entering  a  tavern,  even  to 
buy  a  biscuit,  but  they  showed  no 
visible  signs  of  their  temperance.  Then 
came  the  Blue  Ribbon  Army  who 
(1882)  instituted  the  daily  assertion 
of  their  principles  by  wearing  a  scrap 
of  bright  blue  ribbon  in  the  left  breast 
buttonhole  of  the  coat.  Street  satirists 
dubbed  them  Blue  Ribbon  fakers. 

The  Blue  Ribbon  fakers  may  say 
what  they  fair  like,  but  there  are  times 
when  good  brandy  is  new  life — ask  the 
squirts.  About  1896  these  blue  ribbons 
became  in  some  degree  unpopular  with 
abstainers,  and  were  discarded.  But 
so  far  no  abstinence  supporters  had 
tabooed  tobacco.  It  remained  for  the 
Salvation  Army  to  add  to  all  the 
abstinence  principles  hitherto  adopted 
that  of  the  rejection  of  tobacco  in  all 
its  forms.  As  they  operated  chiefly 
amongst  youths,  their  success  as  anti- 
tobacconalians  was  considerable.  So 
far  moderation  or  abstinence  in  rela- 
tion to  animal  food  has  not  yet  been 
advanced — but  it  must  follow  in  due 

Blue  Roses  (Literary).  Unattain- 
able —  sometimes  blue  dahlias,  or 
tortoise-shell  Tom  cat,  equal  to  squar- 

Blue  'Un 


ing  the  circle.     Blue  roses  is  the  most 
poetical  of  these  phrases. 

The  blue  cloud  of  a  fame  beyond 
Core's  reach  floated  ever  before  him ; 
he  was  eternally  allured  by  the  blue 
roses  of  an  impossible  success. — D.  N., 
25th  June  1885. 

Blue  'un  (Sporting).  A  journal 
named  Winning  Post — so  named  from 
its  tint,  no  doubt  given  to  enter  the 
ranks  with  the  *  Pink  'un '  and  '  Brown 
'un'  (see) — all  three  fine  examples  of 
language  produced  by  the  habitually 
obvious,  and  of  the  tendency  to  shorten 
frequent  phrases.  Technically,  blue 
'un  is  a  learned  woman. 

The  application  of  the  term  to  women, 
originated  with  Miss  Hannah  Moore's 
admirable  description  of  a  '  Blue  Stock- 
ing Club'  in  her  'Bas  Bleu'.—  Mill. 

Bluchers  (London).  Outsider  cabs, 
not  allowed,  except  upon  emergency, 
to  enter  railway  termini  —  probably 
in  contradistinction  to  Wellingtons, 
just  aa  the  Wellington  boot  was  the 
aristocratic  foot-covering — the  Blucher 
that  of  the  general.  The  Blucher  boot 
survives  ;  the  Wellington  is  a  fossil. 

It  appears  that  when  there  is  a 
deficiency  of  cabs  at  any  station,  outside 
or  non-registered  vehicles  are  called  in 
on  payment  of  a  penny  for  the  right  of 
taking  stand  in  the  yard.  With  a  nice 
regard  for  history,  the  drivers  of  these 
'  understudy '  cabs  are,  in  the  vernacular 
of  the  fraternity,  dubbed  'Bluchers'. — 
D.  T.,  'Cab  Strike',  23rd  May  1894. 

Bluff  (Californian,  1849  on).  To 
humbug,  hector,  bully,  from  an 
American  card-game  wherein  the 
player  sheerly  seeks  to  domineer  over 
his  opponent,  and  gain  by  sheer 
audacity,  without  absolute  reference 
to  the  cards  he  (the  bluffer)  holds. 
Probably  from  'bluff',  Californian  for 
cliff;  the  word  suggesting  tall 

'I  bluffed  'im  for  a  hour,  but  'e 
wouldn't  'ave  it  at  not  no  price.  Mr 
Newton,  the  magistrate  at  Maryborough 
Street  observed  :  This  is  a  case  of  bluff. 
—Sir  George  Lewis :  If  you  have  made 
up  your  mind,  I  will  retire  from  the  case. 
— Mr  Newton:  Can  you  contradict  the 
constables  ?— People,  3rd  October  1895. 

Tom  Gossage  afforded  in  his  own 
character  and  habits  an  amusing 
example  of  how  a  man  could  get 
imbued  with  the  peculiar  vice  of  the 
time — and  that  was  the  game  of  brag 
— brag  and  the  hard  old  vices  of  its 
kindred  —  bluff  and  poker.  —  Newsp. 

Bluffer  (Californian,  1849  on).  The 
noun  followed  the  verb  very  rapidly. 

The  stranger  went  away  and  returned 
with  the  bluffer. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Bobby  (Scottish).  A  faithful  person 
— abbreviation  of  Greyfriars  Bobby, 
who  has  become  a  household  word  in 
the  Canongate,  Edinburgh.  He  was 
a  devoted  little  terrier  who  kept  watch 
and  ward  for  a  dozen  years  over  the 
grave  of  his  unknown  master,  buried 
in  the  strangers'  corner  of  Greyfriars 
Cemetery,  Edinburgh.  Lady,  then 
Miss  Burdett  Coutts,  was  so  touched 
by  this  fidelity  that  she  erected  a  little 
monument  to  his  memory.  '  Hey, 
mon,  nae  mair  thanks,  or  maybe  ye'll 
be  getting  the  name  o'  Bobbie.' 

Bobby  Atkins .    See  Tommy  Atkins. 

Bobby's  Labourers  ( Volunteers, 
1868).  Name  given  to  special  con- 
stables, chiefly  volunteers,  during  this 
year — one  of  Fenian  alarm — upon  the 
principle  that  the  s.c's  did  the  work 
of  the  policemen — that  is  '  bobby'. 

Bob,  Harry  and  Dick  (Rhyming, 
1868).  Sick  —  disguised  way  of 
admitting  a  crushed  condition,  the 
morn  following  a  heavy  drink.  (See 

Bobolink  (American).  A  talkative 
person,  from  being  like  a  bird  of  this 
name.  Abbreviation  of  Bob  o' 

This  is  the  way  somebody  translates 
the  bobolink's  libretto :  '  Chink  a  link, 
chink  a  link,  tink  tink,  tinkle  tootle, 
Tom  Denny,  Tom  Denny,  come  pay  me, 
with  your  chink  a  link,  tinkle  linkle, 
toodle  loodle,  popsidoodle,  see,  see, 
see ! '  making  not  the  slightest  pause 
from  beginning  to  end. 

Bobs  (Soc.,  passing  to  People,  1900). 
Plural  of  Bob,  exactly  as  Roberts  is 
the  plural  of  Robert  —  hence  the 
genesis  of  the  familiar  name  for 
General  Roberts.  Bobs  was  much 
applied  in  this  year,  especially  to 
smart  Irish  terriers.  B.P.  (passing  to 
Bups),  was  also  in  great  vogue — of 
course  the  initials  of  General  Baden 
Powell.  This  pluralising  of  nick- 
names had  been  growing  for  years. 

Mr  Ernest  Wells,  one  of  the  founders 
and  managers  of  the  Pelican  Club,  and 
familiarly  known  in  sporting,  dramatic, 
and  literary  circles  by  his  journalistic 
pseudonym  of  '  Swears ',  has,  etc. — D.  T., 
25th  July  1900. 

Tales,  old  Chestnuts,  Hairs,  Pots, 




Pumps,  were  some  of  the  plural  nick- 
names in  use  about  this  period. 
If  a  limber's  slipped  a  trace, 

'Ook  on  Bobs ; 
If  a  marker's  lost  'is  place, 

Dress  by  Bobs  ; 
For  'e's  eyes  all  up  'is  coat, 
An'  a  bugle  in  'is  throat, 
An'  you  will  not  play  the  goat, 
Under  Bobs. 

— Rudyard  Kipling. 

Bobtail  (Peoples').  Name  given 
early  in  the  19th  century  to  the 
dandies  who  wore  the  pointed  tail- 
coats which  followed  the  wide  skirts  of 
the  18th  century,  tails  which  must 
have  been  very  striking.  Name  still 
given  to  a  waiter  by  common  classes. 
(See  Claw-hammer.) 

Bobtail  (Irish).  Appealing  to  the 
masses,  to  the  passing  penny.  Irish, 
and  probably  dating  from  the  intro- 
duction of  the  swallow-tail  coat  from 
England — doubtless  despised  at  first, 
but  still  retained  by  the  peasantry. 

Boucicault  said  '  I  introduced  The  Poor 
of  Liverpool — a  bobtail  piece — with  local 
scenery  and  Mr  Cowper  in  the  principal 
part  (Badger).  I  share  after  £30  a  night, 
and  I  am  making  £100  a  week  on  the 
damned  thing.  I  localise  it  for  each 
town,  and  hit  the  public  between  the 
eyes ;  so  they  see  nothing  but  fire.  I 
can  spin  out  these  rough-and-tumble 
dramas  as  easily  as  a  hen  lays  eggs.  It's 
a  degrading  occupation,  but  more  money 
has  been  made  out  of  guano  than  out 
of  poetry.' 

Body  Lining  (Drapers').  Bread — 
very  opposite,  lining  in  this  trade 
being  what  goes  inside  the  bodice  (or 
body)  of  a  dress.  'Pass  me  half  a 
yard  of  body -lining.'  Body -lining 
itself  is  a  strong  twill. 

Body  Snatcher  (Street,  London, 
1840-1860).  A  cabman— from  the 
habit,  before  higher  civilization 
amongst  cabmen  prevailed,  of  snatch- 
ing their  victim-patrons.  Suggested 
by  that  other  body-snatcher  —  the 
resurrection  -  man,  who  was  but  a 
memory  in  1840. 

Bohemian  Bungery  (Strand 
District).  Public -house  patronized  by 
struggling  authors.  Bohemian  having 
been  introduced  by  Murger  for  a 
fighting  author,  artist,  or  musician, 
and  the  tea-pot  brigade  having  dubbed 
a  licensed  victualler  a  bung,  from  that 
adjunct  to  the  beer  barrel — this  phrase 


became  one  of  the  results  of  time. 
The  Nell  Gwynne  was  once  a  Bohemian 

Bohemian  down  to  his  boots  (Art 
and  Lit.).  Bohemian  in  excelsis. 
'  He  is  a  .  .  . — such  as  they  are ' — 
that  is  '  the  boots '. 

At  that  time  a  young  man,  Nelson 
Kneass,  a  scion  of  an  old  and  proud 
family,  was  horrifying  '  society '  by  going 
round  blacking  his  face  as  a  negro 
minstrel.  He  was  a  brother  of  District 
Attorney  Kneass,  of  this  city,  was  highly 
educated,  but  was  a  'Bohemian  down 
to  his  boots '.  —  N.  Y.  Mercury,  15th 
January  1888. 

Boiled  Owl  (People's).  Drunk— 
as  a  boiled  owl.  Here  there  is  no 
common  sense  whatever,  nor  fun,  wit, 
nor  anything  but  absurdity.  Prob- 
ably another  instance  of  a  proper 
name  being  changed  to  a  common  or 
even  uncommon  word.  May  be  drunk 
as  Abel  Doyle — which  would  suggest 
an  Irish  origin  like  many  incom- 
prehensible proverbs  too  completely 

It  is  a  well-known  fact  in  natural 
history  that  a  parrot  is  the  only  bird 
which  can  sing  after  partaking  of  wines, 
spirits,  or  beer  ;  for  it  is  now  universally 
agreed  by  all  scientific  men  who  have 
investigated  the  subject  that  the  expres- 
sion, '  Drunk  as  a  boiled  owl '  is  a  gross 
libel  upon  a  highly  respectable  teetotal 
bird  which,  even  in  its  unboiled  state, 
drinks  nothing  stronger  than  rain-water. 
— D.  T.,  12th  December  1892. 

Also  whitish,  washed-out  counten- 
ance, with  staring  sleepy  eyes. 

Both  were  admirably  made  up,  and 
Twiss  had  just  the  boiled-owlish  appear- 
ance that  is  gained  by  working  all  night 
in  a  printing-office.  —  Ref.,  31st  May 

(See  Dead  as  O'Donnel,  Smithereens.) 

Boiled  Shirt  (Middle  Class).  Clean, 
white— from  the  fact  that  if  the  shirt 
is  not  boiled  it  remains  dull  grey.  W. 
America,  but  common  in  England. 

'  Waal  now,  say,  you  with  the  boiled 
shirt.  What  did  Miss  Maslam  reply 
when  you  put  the  question?' — Newsp. 
Gutting,  1897. 

Boko  (Common).  A  huge  nese. 
Corruption  of  '  beaucoup ',  the  '  o'  being 
national  and  preferred  to  the  French 
'  ou '.  Said  to  be  descended  from  the 
time  of  Grimaldi,  who  would  observe 
while  'joey-ing'  (g.v.)  'C'est  beau- 
coup',  and  tapping  his  nose.  The 


Bono  Johnny 

phrase  still  remains,  Anglicised,  for  a 
rough  observing  to  another  rough  of  a 
third  gentleman's  nose,  will  make  the 
statement,  '  I  say — boko  ! '  When  one 
Espinosa,  a  French  dancer,  came  to 
London  (1858),  the  size  of  his  wonderful 
nose  drew  so  much  gallery  observation 
of  'boko'  that  Mr  J.  Oxenford,  in  the 
Times,  especially  referred  to  the  organ 
and  assumed  it  was  art.  Thereupon, 
Espinosa  wrote  explaining  that  the 
nose  in  question  was  un  don  de  la 

He  was  as  thin  and  pale  as  a  coffee 
palace  bit  of  roast  beef,  and  his  boko 
was  as  high  and  red  as  the  sun  on  a 
foggy  morning. 

If  he  thought  he  had  a  black  spot  on 
his  boko  he'd  go  into  convulsions. 

Boko-smasher  (Street}.  For  elucida- 
tion of  this  elegant  occupation  see  Boko. 

Bolt -upright  (Peoples').  A  good 
example  of  graphic  application.  From 
the  rigidity  of  a  bolt,  e.g.,  'he  was 
bolt-upright,  mum — and  were  so  all  the 
time,  as  'is  dear  father  was  a-thrashin' 
of  him.' 

Bolted  to  the  Bran  (Polit.). 
Thoroughly  sifted  —  one  of  the  few 
puns  or  jocular  phrases  of  which  Glad- 
stone could  ever  be  accused. 

Now  the  great  questions  are  initiated, 
discussed,  sifted,  '  bolted  to  the  bran ', 
to  use  an  expression  more  than  once 
adopted  by  Mr  Gladstone,  before  they 
come  formally  under  the  notice  of  the 
House  of  Commons. — D.N..  12th  August 

Bombast  (Hist.).  Windy  words — 
from  Bumbast — the  word,  with  a  double 
entendre  used  for  the  material  for 
stuffing  out  trunk  hose,  16th  and  17th 

When  I  came  to  unrip  and  unbumbast 
this  Gargantuan  bag-pudding,  I  found 
nothing  in  it  but  dog's  tripes.—  Gabriel 

I.  Disraeli  says  'Bombast  was  the 
tailors'  term  in  the  Elizabethan  era 
for  the  stuffing  of  horse-hair  or  wool 
used  for  the  large  breeches  then  in 
fashion — hence  the  term  was  applied 
to  high-sounding  phrases  "all  sound 
and  fury,  signifying  nothing".' 

Bone  (London,  1882).  A  thin  man. 
Hence — 'The  bone  has  made  a  remark.' 
(Surrey  Pantomime,  London,  1882.) 

Bone-clother  (Medical}.     Port  wine 

— which  is  popularly  supposed  to  in- 
duce muscle. 

Bone  Idle  (Scottish}.  Could  not  be 
more  so.  Probably  the  one  atom  of 
slang,  if  this  can  be  called  slang,  which 
Carlyle  exercised ;  may  be  found  in  a 
letter  to  his  mother  (15th  Feb.  1847). 
'  I  have  gone  bone  idle  these  four  weeks 
and  more,  and  have  been  well  done  to 
every  way.' 

Bone-shaker  (Youths^  1870  on). 
The  earliest  bicycle  —  which  tried  to 
break  bones  incessantly. 

Bone-shop  (Lower  Classes).  Work- 
house— another  of  the  more  figurative 
and  satirical  names  for  this  establish- 
ment. Here  it  refers  presumably  and 
untruly  to  the  nature  of  the  nourish- 
ment as  producing  nothing  visible  over 
the  pauper  bones. 

'  Two  of  'em  lives  in  the  blooming  bone- 
shop  and  the  other  little  devil  is  in  the 
small-pox  hospital.' 

Boner  Nochy  (Clerkenwell ;  Italian 
quarter).  Good-night  —  imitated  by 
the  Clerkenwellians,  from  the  bona 
notte  of  the  Italians  in  Eyre  Street 
Hill,  Little  Bath  Street,  and  Hatton 
Garden ;  or  it  may  be  from  the 
Spanish  'noche' — through  the  U.S.A. 

'In  any  case',  said  Don  Miguel, 
rising  and  preparing  to  retire  for  the 
night,  '  in  any  case,  can  you  wonder  that 
I  hate  the  Argentine,  and  everything 
connected  with  it  ?  Buenas  noches, 
senor  ! '— Ev.  News,  9th  December  1898. 

Bonner  (Oxford  fer').  Bonfire. 
This  specimen  of  'er'  shows  a  spice 
of  satirical  wit,  for  it  is  suggestive  of 
Bishop  Bonner,  who  certainly  lit  up 
many  bonfires — Smithfield  way. 

Bonnet  (Lower  Class).  To  smash 
another's  hat  over  the  eyes.  From 
French  (bonnet  -  a  •  cap),  and  time 
Charles  II.  Bonnet  passed  into  hat, 
but  'to  bonnet'  went  sliding  down 
until  now  it  is  in  the  gutter.  (See 
Cloak,  In  his  sleeve,  Shawl.) 

Bonny  Robby  (Provincial).  Pretty 
but  frail  girl,  probably  from  '  buona 
roba ' — common  in  the  time  and  court 
of  Charles  II. 

DRUG  :  There  visits  me  a  rich  young 
widow  ?  FACE  :  A  bona  roba  ?  — 
Garrick's  Alel  Drugger. 

Bono  Johnny  (Pigeon  Chinese).  A 
good  fellow.  A  Chinese  invention ; 
used  by  English  sailors  as  warrant  of 
good  intentions. 




Bonse  (School).  Head.  'Lookout, 
or  I'll  fetch  you  a  whack  across  the 
bonse '. 

Boo;  Boo-ers  (Theatrical,  1900). 
First-night  gallery  critics  who  replaced 
the  goose  (hissing)  by  '  booing '  — 
probably  because  it  was  easier  and 
more  secretive. 

Who  would  have  thought,  when  an  ill- 
mannered  gallery  '  booed  '  Mr  Kerker's 
sparkling  entertainment  more  than 
twelve  months  ago  that  it  would  achieve 
an  unparalleled  success  at  the  Shaftes- 
bury?— D.  T.,  9th  May  1899. 

(See  Wreckers.) 

Boobies'  Hutch  (Military,  19  cent. ). 
A  drinking  point  in  barracks,  which, 
under  certain  circumstances,  is  open 
after  canteen  is  closed.  Satire  prob- 
ably upon  the  fools  who  have  never 
had  enough. 

Boodle  (Liverpool).  One  of  the 
New  York  terms  for  money.  Probably 
from  the  Dutch. 

Hangman  ain't  such  a  bad  fellow.  He 
always  treats  the  boys  after  he  receives 
'the  boodle'  from  the  Sheriff  for  send- 
ing an  unfortunate  to  the  other  side ; 
although  some  folks  are  really  afraid  to 
go  near  him,  and  wouldn't  even  pass  his 
house,  I'd  just  as  leave  drink  with  him 
as  I  would  with  you. — N.  Y.  Mercury, 
3rd  May  1885. 

In  vain  did  one  of  the  American  comic 
journals  some  time  ago  depict,  with 
becoming  scorn,  a  hoard  of  needy 
European  nobles  struggling  for  the 
possession  of  a  dermire  American  beauty 
who  bears  a  bag  of  what  is  locally  known 
as  '  boodle ',  and  in  polite  society  as 
lucre,  in  her  shapely  arms.  —  D.  N., 
15th  September  1890. 

Book-maker  (Racing,  19  cent.).  A 
professional  betting  man  who  makes 
a  betting  book  upon  every  race,  or 
about  every  race  in  a  season.  He  lays 
against  all  horses.  A  bookmaker  of 
position  must  make  immense  profits, 
under  the  two  conditions  of  betting 
with  men  who  can  pay  and  with  men 
who  will  accept  all  the  conditions 
offered  by  the  bookmaker.  In  fact, 
under  these  'circs',  he  rarely  loses, 
while  the  money  he  may  make  is 
almost  limitless.  Sometimes,  however, 
when  a  favoiirite  wins,  the  '  ring '  (that 
is  the  mass  of  betting  men),  is  hit 

Bookie  (Sporting,  1881).  The 
endearing  'ie',  common  in  Johnnie 

and  chappie,  adapted  to  bookmaker. 
The  '  maker '  dropped  —  the  suffix 

Booking  (Public  School).  Anything 
but — for  it  is  casting  volumes  from 
you  as  missiles  at  the  enemy  for  the 
time  being,  e.g.,  'Jannery  split — book 
him  together  ! ' 

It  would  be  a  pity  to  deprive  them  of 
the  chance  of  such  '  glorious  fun '  as  the 
'  mobbing '  and  '  booking '  (that  is  pelting 
with  books)  of  the  model  school  tyrant. 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Boomerang  (American,  1882).  A 
vain  folly,  the  consequence  of  which 
returns  upon  the  perpetrator.  This 
phrase  is  of  course  based  upon  the 
peculiar  trajectory  of  the  Australian 
boomerang,  which,  properly  thrown, 
returns  to  the  feet  of  the  missile- 
thrower.  In  1883  a  play  was  pro- 
duced by  Mr  Daly  in  New  York, 
with  the  title  c  728  —  or  Casting  the 
Boomerang'.  A  New  York  dramatic 
critic  in  the  course  of  an  article  upon 
this  play,  wrote: — 'the  various  follies 
or  boomerangs  of  the  principal  char- 
acters return  in  the  course  of  the  play 
to  plague  them '. 

Boomlet  (City,  1896).  A  small 
'  boom '.  Satirical  invention  used  to 
attack  the  prosperous  enemy. 

Without  troubling  you  with  details, 
I  may  mention  that  during  the  recent 
West  Australian  boom — or,  as  some  of 
my  Stock  Exchange  friends  prefer  to 
call  it,  'boomlet'  —  we  succeeded  in 
realising,  etc. — Mr  H.  Bottomley,  10th 
December  1897. 

Boomster  (City,  1898).  One  who 

Boost  (Liverpool  -  American).  A 
hoist,  toss,  elevation — from  the  mode 
of  raising  one  in  the  world  hurriedly, 
exercised  by  an  angry  bull  or  even 

The  cowcumber  kin  be  made  an  orna- 
ment, will  stand  in  any  climate,  and  the 
placques  and  chromos  will  encourage  art 
and  give  a  fresh  boost  to  decoration. 

Boot  (Tailors'  and  Bootmakers',  19 
cent. ).  Money  —  one  of  the  trade 
applications  to  describe  money  — 
just  exactly  as  the  grocer  calls  coin 
'  sugar '  or  the  milkman  '  cream '. 
'We've  had  the  boot  for  that  job.' 
Probably  an  abbreviation  of  'beauti- 
ful', this  being  an  obviously  likely, 
vulgar,  poetical  naine  for  money.  (See 

Booth  Star 

Born  Days 

Needful. )  Sometimes  only  a  shilling. 
'Can  I  have  the  boot?'— asked  for 
at  the  end  of  a  day's  work.  Indeed 
'  boot '  in  its  most  ordinary  form  is  an 
advance  on  the  weekly  wages — but  one 
never  under  a  shilling.  The  lower 
advance,  sixpence,  is  called  a  slipper. 
Also  used  in  the  tailoring  trade.  A 
worker  will  say  at  closing  time, 
'  Please,  sir,  could  you  oblige  me 
with  the  boot',  while  a  more  retiring 
soul  would  ask — *  Could  I  have  a 
slipper,  sir?' 

Booth  Star  (Minor  Stage).  Lead- 
ing actor  or  actress  in  a  'booth'. 
'  Let  me  tell  you  a  booth  star  is  a 
good  thing.  You  often  get  four  parts 
a  night.  It  is  great  experience — and 
it  is  the  first  step  to  Drury  Lane.' 

Booze  (Low  London).  Intoxicants 
of  all  kinds,  but  particularly  beer. 
May  be  from  a  name,  but  probably  is 
an  onomatope  of  quite  modern  date, 
from  the  boozing  noise  made  by 
drunkards  when  falling  off  to  sleep. 
Booze  is  drink  in  general — boozy,  the 
result  of  drinking  slowly  and  tandem, 
also  to  sleep. 

At  the  hearing  of  the  Southampton 
election  petition,  witness  describing  a 
procession  of  costermongers  said :  '  I 
heard  some  men  shout  that  they  wanted 
some  more  booze '.  Mr  Justice  Wright : 
'  What  ? '  Mr  Willis :  <  Booze,  my  lord, 
drink '.  Mr  Justice  Wright :  '  Ah  ! ' 

Booze  plausibly  claims  a  sort  of  corrupt 
descent  from  the  genuine,  if  low,  English 
word  to  '  bouse, '  which  occurs  in  our 
literature  as  early  as  1567.—  D.  T.,  2nd 
December  1895. 

Mr  O'Donovan,  the  Eastern  traveller, 
said  to  a  press  -  interviewer  (  World, 
31st  January  1885),  'this  word  is 
Persian  for  * '  beer  " '.  Was  he  indulging 
in  one  of  his  ordinary  jokes  ?  If  not, 
then  the  coalescing  of  these  words  and 
meanings  is  a  very  remarkable  etymo- 
logical fact. 

Boozer  (Street,  19  cent.).  The 
public  -  house,  as  well  as  the  public- 
house  frequenter. 

Big  Tim  goes  with  him,  while  I  pops 
around  the  boozer.— People,  6th  January 

Booze-fencers  (Com.  Lon.,  1880). 
Licensed  victuallers  —  from  '  booze ' 
drink,  and  fencers  sellers  —  probably 
a  wilful  corruption  of  *  dispensers '. 

You  may  run  down  booze  fencers  as 
much  as  you  like,  but  you  take  my  tip 

that  there  are  more  real  gentlemen 
among  them  than  among  any  other  class, 
upper  ten  included. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Booze-pushers  (Low  London,  19 
cent.).  Variant  of  booze-fencer. 

When  a  bloke  is  flatch  kennurd  the 
booze  pushers  will  give  him  any  rot  in 
the  house,  and  that's  very  hard  lines. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Booze-shunters  (P.  House,  1870). 

They  have  never  robbed  a  man  of  a 
hard  day's  work,  and  are  the  best  booze 
shunters  in  the  world  without  ever 
getting  slewed. 

To  'shunt'  in  railway  life  is  to 
move  from  place  to  place.  The  booze- 
shunter  moves  the  beer,  or  'booze,'  from 
the  pot  into  his  visceral  arrangements. 
The  term  was  started  by  the  S.W.R. 
porters  and  guards,  who  use  the  larger 
public-houses  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
the  terminus  in  the  Waterloo  Koad 

Bo-peep  (Nursery}.  Exclamation 
of  fun.  Johnson  does  not  compre- 
hensively elucidate  this  word  when 
he  gravely  says  it  is  from  'bo'  and 
'peep'.  'The  art',  he  says,  'of  look- 
ing out,  and  drawing  back,  as  if 
frighted,  or  with  the  purpose  to  fright 
one  another.'  SHAKESPEARE,  who  has 
everything,  has  this  phrase  once — 
'  Then  they  for  sudden  joy  did  weep 
And  I  for  sorrow  sung, 

That  such  a  king  should  play  bo-peep 
And  go  the  fools  among.' 

DRYJDEN  has :  '  There  devil  plays  at 
bo-peep,  puts  out  his  horns,  etc.' 

Bor  (E.  Anglian}.  May  be  a 
shortening  of  neighbour,  but  is  pro- 
bably a  corruption  of  boy — politely 
applied  even  to  the  oldest  male 

Bore  (Soc.t  19  cent.).  Weary. 
From  tunnelling  operations  —  steady, 
deadly,  incisive  'jaw'.  One  of  the 
trade  metaphors  which  has  passed  into 
society  and  still  stops  there.  Never 
has  come  down  in '  the  social  scale. 
'Lord  Tom  bores  one  to  death  with 

To  bore  in  the  hills,  is  it?  Well— 
don't  bore  me  about  it.  —  Miss  M. 
EDGEWORTH,  The  Absentee  (1809). 

Born  Days  (Peoples').  Intensifies 
Days  that  are  born  in  an  individual 
life.  '  In  all  my  born  days  I  was 
never  so  insulted.'  Other  authorities 
maintain  it  should  be  'borne,'  or 

Born  a  Bit  Tired 

Bouguereau  Quality 

burdened,  days  —  while  still  more 
recondite  etymologists  maintain  it  is 
'bourn'  —  from  our  progress  daily  to 
that  bourn  whence  no  traveller 
returns.  Fine  example  of  three 
different  words  with  the  same  sound 
offering  as  many  meanings.  Almost 
as  good  or  as  bad  as  *  mala '. 

Born  a  bit  tired  (Soc.,  1870  on). 
Sarcastic  excuse  for  a  chronically  lazy 
man.  'You  can't  reasonably  expect 
him  to  work  a  couple  of  hours  per 
day — he  was  born  a  bit  tired'. 

According  to  Mr  Alderman  Taylor,  of 
the  London  County  Council,  there  exists 
the  man  who  is  'born  a  bit  tired'. — 
D.  T.,  13th  February  1897. 

Born  with  a  sneer  (Literary,  1850 
on).  Said  of  an  implacable  critic, 
attributed  to  Douglas  Jerrold,  who 
was  good  at  sneering  himself. 

'  Lord  X  would  laugh  at  the  Holy 
Sepulchre — he  was,  etc.'. 

Light  opera  has  familiarised  the  public 
with  the  man  who  was  'born  with  a 
sneer'.— D.  T.,  13th  February  1897. 

Bosh  (Lower  Official  English).  A 
term  applied  by  market  inspectors  to 
butterine,  oleomargarine  and  other 
preparations  practically  too  long  - 
windedly  named  to  please  the  official 
mind.  Now  extended  to  all  adulter- 
ants or  adulterated  food.  Mr 
O 'Donovan  declared  this  word  to  be 
Persian,  and  that  it  means  'empty'. 
Certainly  the  word  used  as  an  ex- 
clamation is  replete  with  the  idea  of 
emptiness.  (See  World,  31st  January 

Boss  Time  (Anglo- Amer.).  Great 
pleasure,  a  supreme  holiday ;  e.g., 
'  Eve  had  a  boss  time  last  winter  hunt- 
ing deer  up  in  Michigan.' 

Now  used  in  England. 

Botany  Beer  Party  (Soc.,  1882). 
A  meeting  where  no  intoxicants  are 
drunk.  In  this  year  temperance, 
which  had  been  growing  in  society  for 
years,  became  drunk  on  affectation. 

Botany  Beer,  it  has  recently  been  de- 
cided on  judicial  authority,  is  not  beer 
at  all.— G.  A.  Sala,  in  III.  Lond.  News, 
10th  March  1883. 

Botherums  (Agricultural).  Yellow 

Among  the  turnips  the  yellow  mari- 
golds flourish  mightily,  so  mightily  that 
they  are  called  locally  '  botherums '  by 
the  farmers,  for  they  are  most  difficult 
to  get  rid  of. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Bottle  Nose  (Amer.  Boys}.  Scorn- 
ful designation  of  the  aged  nose — an 
organ  which  so  frequently  derogates 
from  the  promise  of  youth.  Applied 
without  mercy  to  those  no  longer 
young.  Heard  in  Liverpool.  (See 
Bald-head,  Scare-crow.) 

Bottle  up  (People's).  To  refrain, 
restrain  oneself;  in  another  sense,  to 
hem  in  the  enemy,  literally  or  figura- 

The  old  story  of  Spanish  lack  of  pre- 
paration was  repeated  ;  vessels  were  foul 
from  long  absence  from  dock,  coal  was 
deficient,  ammunition  ran  short,  and  in- 
stead of  commanding  a  fleet  '  in  being ', 
Admiral  Cervara  was  glad  to  bottle  him- 
self up  in  the  harbour  of  Santiago. — D. 
T.,  17th  June  1898. 

Bottled  (People's,  1898).  Arrested, 
stopped,  glued  in  one  place — re-intro- 
duced during  the  American-Spanish 
war,  immediately  after  the  U.S.A. 
squadron  had  bottled  the  Spanish  fleet 
in  Santiago  by  closing  the  narrow 
opening  to  the  harbour  of  that  city ; 
e.g.,  'My  wife's  come  to  town — I'm 
bottled.  Next  week,  Jane.' 

Bottle  o'  Spruce  (Peoples',  18  cent.). 
Zero,  nothing,  abbreviation  of  Bottle 
of  Spruce  Beer,  which  was  cheap,  com- 
monplace, almost  valueless;  e.g.,  'Of 
course,  you  say  I  don't  care  a  bottle  of 
spruce. ' 

It  also  implies  twopence  ;  this  sum, 
early  in  the  19th  century  being  the  price 
of  a  bottle  of  spruce  beer.  A  man  now 
seeking  twopence  asks  for  the  price  of 
a  pint.  His  grandfather  would  have 
asked  for  a  bottle  of  spruce. 

Boughten  or  Bought  (Provincial). 
Adj  ecti ve  of  disparagement.  Bought  as 
distinct  from  superior  home-madegoods. 
No  longer  heard.  Very  pleasant,  as 
illustrating  a  time  when  every  country- 
house,  large  and  small,  had  its  spinsters, 
weavers,  stocking-knitters,  and  straw - 
plaiters.  This  word  is  the  more 
interesting  from  a  modern  instance  in 
Ireland,  where  vanned  bread  that  is 
carted  from  the  baker's  is  a  term  of 
disparagement  as  compared  with  home- 
made bread. 

Bouguereau  quality  (Art,  1884). 
Riskily  effeminate.  From  the  name  of 
the  great  French  painter,  whose  style 
is  almost  unwholesomely  refined.  The 
word  has  become  cruelly  perverted  by 
its  translation  into  common-place  art 




chat.  Now  very  extensively  used. 
The  Bouguereau  quality  is  not  only 
applied  to  figure  painting  and  to 
sculpture,  but  reaches  landscape  and 
portrait  painting,  decoration,  and  even 
literature.  The  Bouguereau  quality  in 
letters  is  now  very  marked,  and  refers 
to  work  by  both  sexes.  It  is  also 
applied  to  manners,  speech,  and  even 
dress — remarkable  example  of  rapid 
growth  of  a  word. 

The  exhibition  includes  several 
notable  works  by  famous  painters.  M. 
Bouguereau 'a  group  called  'Spring'  is 
alone  worth  seeing,  being  a  very  refined 
example  of  his  exquisite  painting  of  the 
nude.— I).  N.,  19th  July  1886. 

Boulevard -journalist  (Fr.,  1856). 
Immediately  after  Louis  Napoleon 
seized  upon  the  throne  of  France,  a 
number  of  contentious  little  journals 
appeared,  mostly  of  a  personal  and 
scandalous  character,  for  politics  had 
been  practically  slain.  The  serious 
journals  styled  these  new  issues 
'journaux  des  boulevards',  their 
writers  '  Les  journalistes  boulevar- 
diers '.  These  literary  gnats  especially 
attacked  England,  as  a  rule,  hence 
the  English  press  willingly  Anglicised 
the  term  to  describe  an  unscrupulous 
writer  until  'Society  journalist'  was 
discovered  and  accepted. 

Boulevardier  (Franco-Eng.y  1854- 
70).  Paris  man  about  town  of  third- 
rate  position ;  accepted  in  England  ; 
e.g.,  '  He  is  only  a  boulevardier. ' 

Bounced  (Avier.,  1880).  Igno- 
miniously  ejected.  Derivation  speaks 
fatally  for  itself. 

While  he  did  not  feel  greatly  injured 
by  being  bounced  from  a  club  which  num- 
bered only  seven  lame  old  men  and  two 
dogs,  he  wanted  to  feel  that  justice  was 
on  his  side,  and  he  therefore  appealed  to 
the  Lime-Kiln  Club  for  its  decision. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Quite  accepted  in  England. 

Bounced  muchly  (Amer.  Tavern}. 
To  be  expelled  with  exceeding  vigour. 
Bounced  is  a  modern  discovery,  but 
the  adverb  'muchly'  is  due  to  the 
wild  philology  of  the  mirth-provoking 
Artemus  Ward. 

Bouncer  (P.  House,  380's).  Ex- 
peller  of  noisy  or  even  mildly  drunken 
customers.  (See  *  Chucker  out '. ) 

The  '  bouncer '  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons, going  into  the  gallery,  tried  to  find 
the  guilty  individual,—  Newsp.  Cutting. 

Every  one  who  mixes  much  in  society  in 
Whitechapel  will  understand  the  functions 
of  the  bouncer.  When  tavern  liberty 
verges  on  licence,  and  gaiety  on  wanton 
delirium,  the  bouncer  selects  the  gayest 
of  the  gay  and  —  bounces  him.  To 
'  bounce '  is  simply  to  prevail  on  persons 
whose  mirth  interferes  with  the  general 
enjoyment  to  withdraw  from  society 
which  they  embarrass  rather  than  adorn. 
The  bouncer  almost  invariably  uses  gentle 
means  and  moral  persuasion.  He  bounces 
the  erring  'as  if  he  loved  them'.  His 
reputation  for  strength  and  science  are 
so  great  that  no  one  cares  to  resist  the 
bouncer,  and  the  boldest  hold  their 
breath  and  let  themselves  be  bounced 
without  a  murmur.  (See  '  Chucker  out '. ) 
— D.  N.,  26th  July  1883. 

Bouncing  (Peoples').  Big,  rotund 
— probably  from  bonse — a  huge  round 

Moreover,  he  has  females  in  his  employ 
who  have  been  with  him  ten  years,  and 
many  of  them  are  the  healthy  mothers 
of  bouncing  boys  and  girls.  I'm  not 
quite  sure  under  what  circumstances 
children  bounce,  but  I  believe  the  ex- 
pression is  applied  to  strapping  infants  ; 
though,  again,  I  do  not  know  under  what 
circumstances  children  strap.  —  G.  K. 
Sims,  Ref.,  28th  December  1884. 

Bound  to  Shine  (Amer.).  Praise. 
The  antithesis  of  '  clouded  over'  (q.v.). 

Bournemouth  (Theatri.,  1882-83). 
The  deported  Gaiety  Theatre  (London) 
— said  satirically.  The  house  was  very 
icy  that  winter,  and  produced  colds, 
while  Bournemouth  is  the  sanatorium 
for  weak-chested  invalids. 

We  don't  care  about  Bournemouth — 
our  pleasant  name  for  the  Gaiety,  as 
everybody  there  is  dying  of  coughs  and 
colds.  —  Sporting  Times,  3rd  February 

Bowl  for  Timber  (Cricketers').  To 
send  the  ball  at  the  martyr-player's 
legs — the  timber.  Discountenanced  in 
later  years— rather  as  waste  of  time 
than  with  any  view  of  repression  of 
personal  injury.  '  Try  for  timber — 
he's  quivery' — that  is  to  say,  nervous. 

Bowl  ( Thieves',  1 9  cent. ).  Discovery 
— from  '  bowl  out ' — a  cricketing  term. 
Good  as  illustrating  how  a  national 
pastime  always  provides  new  language. 

Grizard  went  with  them,  and  said  he 
wanted  them  to  look  sharp  and  get  to 
Covent  Garden  before  the  market  was 
open,  in  case  it  came  to  a  '  bowl '.  This 
was  at  four  in  the  morning.  The  Alder- 
man :  What  is  a  « bowl '  ?  Witness :  I 
understand  it  to  be  a  find-out. 



Brayvo  Hicks 

Bowler  (Middle  Glass).  Hard, 
dome-shaped,  man's  felt  hat.  This  hat 
('80)  took  the  place  of  the  deer-stalker, 
which  was  the  first  modern  felt  hat 
produced  in  London.  The  bowler  was 
a  make  of  a  smaller  kind  altogether. 
Origin  not  known — but  probably  from 
the  nam«  of  the  manufacturer.  Has 
quite  passed  into  the  language. 

All  the  description  that  the  railway 
officials  can  give  of  the  man  is  that  he 
appeared  well  dressed,  and  wore  a  dark 
overcoat,  closely  buttoned,  and  a  bowler 
hat.— Z).  T.,  15th  February  1897. 

Bow  -  wow  -  mutton  (Naval).  So 
bad  that  it  might  be  dog-flesh. 

Boxing  put  (Austral,  from  Amer.). 
Boxing  outing — or  bout. 

Boy  (Boltoii).  Man.  There  are  no 
men  in  Bolton — all  are  boys,  even  at 
ninety.  This  quality  they  share  alone, 
throughout  England,  with  post-boys — 
who  never  grow  up. 

Boy  Jones,  The  (about  1840). 
Secret  informant.  A  chimney  boy- 
sweep  of  this  name  tumbled  out  of  a 
chimney  at  Buckingham  Palace,  or  was 
found  there  under  a  bed,  and  was  sup- 
posed to  have  heard  State  secrets  as 
between  the  Queen  and  the  then 
Prince  Albert.  Event  supposed  to 
have  accelerated  chimney-sweeping  by 
machinery.  For  years  '  the  boy  Jones' 
was  suggestive  of  secrecy.  '  The  per- 
son who  told  me,  my  son,  was  the  boy 
Jones.'  (See  'Jinks  the  Barber', 
'Postman's  Sister'.) 

Boyno  !  (Nautical  —  from  Lingua 
Franca,  or  S.  American).  Friendly 
valediction;  sometimes  been  used  at 
meeting  as  '  Hullo  ! '  '  Boyno— how 
is  it  ? ' 

At  parting,  'Well — so  long!  Boy- 
no!'  From  the  Spanish  'bueno', 
equivalent  of  'God  speed  you.' 

'  Bueno,  senoretta  ! '  said  the  dwarf,  and 
walked  away  with  the  superintendent. 

Brace  up  (Thieves').  Pawn  stolen 
property.  Corruption  perhaps  from 
Fr.  '  Eraser ',  to  fabricate— at  length  ; 
'braser  des  faffes'— to  fabricate  false 
papers.  May  have  been  introduced  by 
French  criminals. 

Bracelets  ( Thieves').  Humorous 
title  for  hand-cuffs  ;  in  itself  a  satirical 

Brads  (North  Country).  One  of  the 
trade  names  for  money — in  this  case 
halfpence.  The  word  comes  from  the 

boot-making  trade,  and  is  still  in  use 
in  the  north.     Brads  are  small  nails. 
'  Hey,  lass,  thee  shalt  hev'  thy  tay-tray 
when  t'  brads  coom  along.' 

Bradshaw  (Middle  Class).  Precise 
person,  great  at  figures.  From  '  Brad- 
shaw's  Railway  Guide' ;  e.g.,  '  Quite  a 
Bradshaw — my  dear. ' 

Brag  (Soc.,  1800-30).  A  game  of 
cards  in  which  the  players  tried  to  give 
the  idea  that  they  held  better  cards 
than  they  did.  Hence  the  phrase, 
'  Don't  brag  by  the  card.' 

Speculation  does  not  greatly  surprise 
me,  I  believe,  because  I  feel  the  same 
myself ;  but  it  mortifies  me  deeply  be- 
cause speculation  was  under  my  patron- 
age ;  and,  after  all,  what  is  there  so 
delightful  in  a  pair  royal  of  Braggers? 
It  is  but  three  nines  or  three  knaves,  or  a 
mixture  of  them. — Jane  Austen's  Letters, 

Bran  New  (Peoples').  A  corrup- 
tion of  brand  new,  that  which  is 
branded  with  the  name  of  the  maker. 
Probably  from  Sheffield. 

Brandy  and  Fashoda  (Soc.t  October 
1898).  Brandy  and  soda,  of  course. 
Good  example  of  droll  pleonasm. 
From  the  discovery  of  the  French 
captain,  Marchand,  at  Fashoda,  almost 
immediately  after  the  conquest  of  the 
dervishes  at  Omdurman  (1898).  (See 
S.  andB.) 

Brandy-shunter  (L.  Class).  He 
that  swalloweth  frequent  eau-de-vie. 

Thomas  Spencer  Carlton,  the  eminent 
brandy-shunter,  was  born  about  thirty- 
five  years  ago  of  wealthy  yet  honest 
parents. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Brass  (Metallic  England).  Money. 
The  commonest  term  for  cash  all  over 
England,  and  almost  the  only  one  used 
in  the  copper  and  iron  industries. 

The  prisoner  and  another  man  stopped 
the  prosecutor,  and  explained  that  it  was 
'  money  to  buy  beer '  that  they  wanted. 
'  Haven't  any '  said  he.  '  Yes,  you  have ' 
shouted  Quain  ;  '  and  we've  got  to  have 
some  of  it.  Now,  then,  brass  up,  or  we'll 
shove  you  through  it.' — Neivsp.  Cutting. 

Brass-knocker  (Cadgers').  Broken 
victuals.  This  may  be  a  corruption 
from  the  Romany,  but  it  is  now 
suggestive  of  a  house  whose  superior 
respectability  warrants  the  absence  of 
complete  economy  and  the  presence  of 

Brayvo  Hicks  (Theat.,  1830).  A 
peculiar  form  of  applause  only  used 

Brayvo  Rouse 

Bremerhaven  Miscreant 

in  approbation  of  muscular  demonstra- 
tion on  the  lower  stage  —  especially 
broadsword  exercise.  Derived  from 
Hicks,  a  celebrated  favourite  actor  for 
many  years,  more  especially  'upon 
the  Surrey  side'.  After  he  passed 
away  the  applausive  phrase  first 
applied  to  him  was  inherited  for 
many  years  by  his  natural  successors. 
It  may  still  be  heard  in  out-of-the-way 
little  theatres.  Applied  in  S.  London 
widely  ;  e.g.,  '  Brayvo  Hicks — into  'er 
again.  Mary  —  give  'er  the  gravil 

Brayvo  Rouse  (E.  London). 
Applause — approval.  From  the  name 
of  an  enterprising  proprietor  of  *  The 
Eagle '  ,  afterwards  '  The  Royal 
Grecian ',  a  theatre  situated  in  the 
City  Road,  now  the  Central  London 
headquarters  of  the  Salvation  Army. 
This  clever  man  was  one  of  the  first 
managers  to  give  a  long  series  of 
well-presented  French  light  operas  in 
English.  All  the  best  of  Auber's 
work  was  dressed  in  English  by 
Rouse  —  who,  it  is  to  be  feared, 
annexed  without  '  authorial '  complica- 
tions. Whenever  he  appeared  it  was 
always  *  Brayvo  Rouse '.  Old  players 
still  show  his  house  in  the  City  Road. 
*  Buck  up  —  to  it  again  —  bray  vo 
Rouse ! ' 

Bread  and  Meat  Man  (Military). 
An  officer  of  the  Army  Service  Corps. 

Bread-basket  (London  Trade,  19 
cent.).  Obvious  invention  of  genius 
for  stomach.  Hence  never  extended  to 
Ireland,  where  the  equivalent  is  tater- 
sack,  the  mouth  being  tatur-trap. 

Miss  Selina  Slops  was  invited  before 
his  Worship,  on  the  charge  of  smearing 
the  face  of  B.O.  44  with  a  flatiron,  while 
hot,  and  also  with  jumping  upon  his 
bread-basket,  while  in  the  execution  of 
his  duty. — Gutting. 

Break  (L.  Class).  Ruin,  overcome, 
expose,  injure  —  justly  or  unjustly. 
Expression  of  victory — '  I  broke  'im 
— I  broke  'im  through  and  through  ! ' 
In  middle  classes  'to  break  a  man' 
is  an  abbreviation  of  break  away 
from  him — to  cease  to  know  him — to 
cut  him.  This  word  obtains  ever- 
increasing  significations. 

Breakdown  (Negro -plantation).  A 
particular  kind  of  dance,  for  one 
generally,  where  the  steps  are  varied, 
but  the  performer  does  not  move  far 

from  his  place;  coming  from  the  old 
French  settlements  of  America,  prob- 
ably a  corruption  of  '  Rigodon '  — 
Anglicised  or  rather  Americanised. 

I  have  heard  of  burlesque  actors 
dancing  a  'breakdown',  but  the  other 
day  the  jEcho,  on  its  broadsheet, 
announced,  'breakdown  of  an  excursion 
train  ! ' — Entr'acte,  January  1883. 

Breakers  Ahead  (Nautical). 
Necessarily,  warning  of  coming  danger. 

'Melita'  enjoyed  a  very  short  and 
inglorious  career.  It  started  with 
'breakers  ahead'  and  ended  with 
brokers  on  the  spot,  I  believe. — Ref., 
14th  January  1883. 

Breaking  Camp  (American  back- 
woods).  To  change  one's  camping 
place ;  figuratively,  to  leave  it  by 
way  of  death. 

I  could  have  braced  up  under  it  if 
my  poor  Mary  had  got  sick  and  died  at 
home  with  me  holdin'  of  her  hand  and 
consolin'  her  as  she  was  breakin'  camp 
for  the  other  world. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Breast  the  Tape  (Sporting). 
Conquer,  lead,  overcome — from  touch- 
ing the  tape  with  breast  in  running 

Leeds  at  the  best  of  times  does  not 
rejoice  in  a  very  clear  atmosphere ;  but 
when  she  wraps  herself  in  a  fog,  she  can 
give  London  a  good  start  in  the  race  for 
objectionableness  and  breast  the  tape  an 
easy  winner  at  the  finish. — Ref.,  27th 
November  1887. 

Breath  strong  enough  to  carry 
coal  (Anglo. -Amer.).  Drunk. 

.  .  .  comes  home  at  three  o'clock  in 
the  morning  with  a  breath  strong  enough 
to  carry  the  coal. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Brekker  (Oxford  '  er').  Breakfast 
— a  great  find  in  the  '  er '  dialect,  but 
probably  in  origin  dating  from  the 

Bremerhaven  Miscreant  (Amer. 
polit.,  1883).  At  this  place  were  made 
the  clock-work  dynamite  torpedoes 
which  ('80  -  '83)  alarmed  European 

'  Bremerhaven  miscreant '.  These  toys, 
in  which  a  charge  of  dynamite  is  ex- 
ploded by  clockwork,  are  manufactured, 
it  is  commonly  believed,  by  Mr  Crowe, 
of  Peoria.  In  a  free  country,  of  course, 
where  there  is  a  large  Irish  vote,  a  clever 
mechanic  may  make  what  he  pleases,  and 
we  are  far  from  expressing  the  futile 
hope  that  the  Government  of  the  United 
States  will  interfere  with  the  industry  of 
Mr  Crowe  and  his  followers.  But  our 
nation,  though  averse  to  a  policy  of 



Protection,  might  not  unreasonably  lay  a 
heavy  prohibitive  duty  on  '  infernal 
machines '.— D.  N.,  March  1883. 

Briar  (Peoples',  1870).  A  briar-root 
pipe.  A  modern  invention,  supposed 
to  be  of  god-like  comfort.  *  Briar-root 
is  sometimes  used  to  describe  a  corru- 
gated, badly-shaped  nose.' 

Brickfielder  (Australian).  Hot 
north  wind,  bringing  with  it  a  red 
impalpable  dust  from  the  interior.  It 
penetrates  even  locks,  and  stains 
fabrics  in  drawers  of  a  dull  brick  red 
— hence  the  graphic  name.  Generally 
comes  after  great  heat  in  January, 
and  portends  a  grateful  change  in  the 
weather.  'What  a  brickfielder  you 
are  ! ' — meaning  nuisance. 

Bricky  (Peoples').  Brave,  fearless, 
adroit — after  the  manner  of  a  brick  ; 
said  even  of  the  other  sex,  '  What  a 
bricky  girl  she  is.'  (See  'Plucky', 

Bridges-bridges  (Printers').  A  cry 
to  arrest  a  long-winded  story.  Prob- 
ably corruption  of  '  abregeons-abre- 
geons' — in  a  deal  Anglicized.  (See 
'  Grasses ',  '  Chestnuts '. ) 

Bridges  and  no  Grasses  (Printers1). 
Secret.  A  bridge  is  an  absentee  with- 
out leave,  who  has  not  sent  a  substi- 
tute, or  grass.  When  a  combination 
is  made  to  prevent  a  master  from 
getting  out  his  paper  by  the  printers 
absenting  themselves,  this  would  be 
called  Breaking  the  Bridge.  The 
whole  system  belongs  to  a  system  of 
rattening,  a  system  which  is  being 
swept  away  by  the  strides  of  education. 

Bridgeting  (Amer.-Eng.,  1866  on). 
Obtaining  money  under  false  pretences, 
or  even  by  criminal  process,  from  ser- 
vant girls.  This  word  has  taken 
astounding  journeys.  It  dates  from 
Ireland,  where  so  many  female  chil- 
dren are  named  after  Saint  Bridget 
that  the  name  became  as  typical  of  the 
Irish  serving-girl  in  New  York  as  Pat 
(from  St  Patrick)  is  typical  of  the 
Irish  working-man.  From  the  fifties 
onward  Bridget  became  synonymous 
in  New  York  with  domestic  servant. 
In  the  sixties  the  Fenian  leaders  in 
New  York  discovered  a  new  way  of 
getting  money  by  issuing  notes  of  the 
Bank  of  the  Republic  of  Ireland  at  50 
per  cent,  discount.  Large  sums  were 
obtained  through  many  years,  and 
money  is  obtained  even  now  from 


sentimental  Irish  servant  women  in 
New  York — much  of  which  has,  it 
has  been  declared,  aided  the  Irish 
Nationalist  movement  in  the  House 
of  Commons.  Term  now  applied  in 
many  directions. 

Brief  (Peoples'}.  Letter,  or  piece 
of  paper  with  writing.  Probably 
ancient.  May  be  from  the  use  by  the 
First  or  Second  George  of  this  term 
for  letter. 

Brief  (19  cent.).  False  reference. 
The  system  of  false  references  has  so 
increased  that  many  masters  do  not 
ask  for  references,  but  accept  the  ser- 
vant or  clerk,  discovering  him  to  be 
honest  or  dishonest,  as  the  peculiar 
disposition  of  the  employer  lies. 

Brenner  said,  '  I've  given  the  Jew  boy 
another  brief.  I  hope  he'll  pay  me  this 
time.'  Alleged  conspiracy  to  defraud 
Licensed  Victuallers. — Morning  Adver- 
tiser, 25th  February  1892. 

Brief  (Lawyers'  Clerks').  Pawn- 
broker's ticket,  suggested  perhaps  by 
the  shape.  The  synonyms  for  this 
signal  of  woe  are  countless,  and  the 
list  is  always  growing. 

'  Ah,  Sam,  how  are  yer  ?  'ere,  will 
you  buy  the  brief  of  a  good  red  'un,  in 
for  a  fifth  its  value?' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

This  mystic  enquiry  refers  to  the 
duplicate  (this  paste-board  being  a 
simulacrum  of  a  card  firmly  pinned 
to  the  pledge)  of  a  pawned  watch — a 
red  'un,  a  term  which  is  probably  the 
corruption  of  a  proper  name  —  say 
Redding.  (See  Tombstone.) 

Brighton  Bitter  (Public  House). 
Mild  and  bitter  beer  mixed — satirical 
reference  to  some  Brighton  ale-house 
keepers,  who,  knowing  Sunday  and 
Monday  excursionists  are  only  chance 
customers,  never  give  these  customers 
bitter  beer,  though  they  pay  its  price. 

Brim  (Thieves').  A  fearless  woman 
of  the  town.  Origin  evidently  foreign 
— probably  the  French  army,  where 
a  '  brimade '  is  equal  to  English  mili- 
tary '  making  hay ',  and  introduced  to 
London  by  way  of  Soho. 

Bristols  (Soc.t  1830  on).  Visiting 
cards,  from  the  date  when  these  articles 
were  printed  upon  Bristol — i.e.,  card- 
board ;  a  superior  Bristol  make. 

Inside  Madame  Bernhardt's  house  there 
is  a  register  open  for  the  signatures  of 
callers,  and  the  card  basket  shows  a 
large  collection  of  'Bristols'. — D.  T.t 
17th  February  1898. 



Brit  ( Theatr. ).  An  endearing  dimi- 
nutive conferred  by  its  denizens  on 
the  Britannia  Theatre ;  as,  '  How  do 
you  get  to  the  Brit  ?'  '  Take  a  train 
east — one  station  this  side  of  Jericho.' 
(See  Bird,  Vic,  Eff,  'Delphi,  and 
Lane. ) 

British  Roarer  (Peoples'}.  Our 
heraldic  and  symbolical  lion. 

The  tribunes  are  dressed  in  red  cloth, 
and  are  guarded  by  four  comic  Byzantine 
lions,  which  act  as  symbols  of  our  British 
roarer.— D.  N.,  May  1883. 

Broad  Faker  (Thieves').  Card- 
player,  probably  not  wholly  dissociated 
from  cheating.  Broad  may  simply 
refer  to  the  width  of  the  card  ;  but  it 
probably  refers  to  the  name  of  an  early 
maker  of  cards — probably  marked  for 

Broad  -  gauge  Lady  (Railway 
Officials',  passing  to  Peoples').  One  who 
makes  rather  a  tight  fit  for  five  on  a 
side.  '  I  know  I'm  a  broad-gauge 
lady — but  I  can't  help  it,  can  I  ? ' 
Herbert  Campbell's  '  gag ',  Drury  Lane 
Panto.  1884-85.  Passed  away  with 
the  broad-gauge  in  the  '90's. 

Brogue  (Irish).  Local  lingual 
accent — from  the  name  of  the  foot- 
covering  worn  by  the  peasants.  '  From 
the  brogue  to  the  boot '  (gentleman) 
'all  speak  the  same  of  him,  and  can 
say  no  other '.  Maria  Edgeworth,  The 
Absentee,  ch.  9. 

Broken  Brigade  (Soc.,  1880  on). 
Poor,  younger  sons  living  on  their  wits. 
'  Broken ' — another  form  of  *  stone- 

The  younger  son  has  been  brought  up 
in  almost  precisely  the  same  fashion  as 
his  elder  brother.  .  .  .  When,  therefore, 
he  finds  himself  without  the  legitimate 
means  to  live  and  enjoy  life,  as  he  has 
been  trained  to  do,  he  must  either  find 
illegitimate  means  or  else  join  that  party 
which  has  earned  for  itself  the  un- 
enviable name  of  the  broken  brigade. 
— D.  N.,  26th  September  1887. 

Brokered  (L.  C.,  1897).  A 
specimen  of  the  daily  making  of 
language — here  upon  the  pre-historic 
basis  of  the  noun  creating  the  verb. 
How  much  more  concise  than  'got 
the  brokers  in',  and  so  much  nearer 
the  literal,  for  one  broker  who  brokers, 
as  a  rule,  suffices. 

Defendant  complained  that  she  had 
been  'brokered'  by  mistake,  and  that 
she  had  to  go  out  to  wash  to  help  pay 

this  debt  for  another  man,  as  her 
husband  was  only  surety. — D.  T.,  20th 
November  1897. 

Brolly  (Public  School,  1875  on). 
Umbrella.  This  is  evidently  a  corrup- 
tion of  umbrella.  How  did  it  come 
about  ?  It  descends  from  good  society. 
Let  us  suppose  the  then  Prince  of 
Wales  hears  one  of  his  children  when 
very  young  make  an  effort  to  say 
umbrella,  with  'brolly'  for  result, 
that  he  therefore  applies  the  word  very 
naturally  to  his  umbrella ;  that  he  is 
heard  at  the  Marlborough,  where  the 
word  is  adopted,  and  so  passed  on 
to  the  sons  of  the  members  of  the  club, 
who  carry  it  down  into  their  schools — 
whence  it  spreads.  In  King's  College 
the  word  is  quite  naturalised.  (See 
'Gamp,'  'Gingham,'  'Sangster'.) 

Brompton  Boilers  (Art,  1870  on). 
A  three-roofed  iron-built  museum  at 
S.  Kensington.  It  got  this  name  from 
the  aspect  of  the  building,  and  retained 
it  nearly  fifty  years.  They  were  only 
demolished  in  1898. 

As  little  is  there  room  or  reason  for 
carting  them  (the  pictures  left  to  the 
nation  by  Sir  Richard  Wallace),  off  to 
South  Kensington,  especially  so  long  as 
the  administrative  powers  leave  the 
'Brompton  boilers'  in  their  present 
absolutely  disgraceful  condition.— D.  T., 
2nd  April  1899. 

Brooks  of  Sheffield  (M.  CL,  1853 
on).  Nemo — warning  to  be  careful  as 
to  names.  '  Who  was  he  ? '  oh — 
Brooks  of  Sheffield.  From  the  first 
three  numbers  of  David  Copperfield — 
where  David  is  referred  to  by  Mr 
Murdstone  in  this  name.  Now  passiug 
away — but  still  used  in  the  '80's.  On 
all  fours  with  Binks  the  Barber. 

Never  mind ;  I  hear  that  Smith,  the 
champion  pugilist  of  the  universe  and  all 
England,  is  going  to  find  out  who  that 
there  Brooks  of  Sheffield  is  who  boasts 
that  he  knocked  Smith  out  in  a  private 
glove  fight.—  Ref.,  31st  July  1887. 

Broom  (Soc.,  1860  on).  A  would-be 
swell — a  total  pretence.  Corruption 
of  Brum,  with  the  'u'  long,  it  being 
an  abbreviation  of  Brummagem,  which 
is  a  contemptuous  pronunciation  of 
Birmingham — for  many  years,  until 
the  '80s,  a  synonym  for  pinchbeck 
manufactures.  Good  example  of  sub- 
stituting a  known  word  for  another 
less  known  —  on  this  occasion  the 
process  taking  place  in  Society  itself. 



Broomstick  (Canadian).  A  gun  or 
rifle.  No  word  could  more  perfectly 
outline  the  peaceful  character  of  the 
Canadian  as  distinct  from  his  American 
brother,  when  it  is  borne  in  mind  that 
the  latter  calls  his  gun,  shooting  iron. 
The  domesticity  of  '  broomstick ' 
yields  history  in  itself. 

Brother  Bung  (London  Tavern).  A 
fellow  -  publican  ;  as,  '  Oh,  they're 
brother  bungs',  said  contemptuously. 
However,  after  the  usual  smart  English 
manner  of  taking  even  Mr  John  Bull 
by  the  horns,  the  less  dignified 
publicans  have  accepted  the  situation 
amongst  themselves,  and  will  fre- 
quently say  when  meeting,  '  How  goes 
it,  brother  bung  ? ' 

Brougham  (Soc.t  1820  [?]).  A 
small,  close  carriage,  named  after  Lord 
Brougham — it  is  even  said  invented 
by  him.  The  name  has  lasted  to  this 
day  as  'broom'  amongst  high-class 
people  —  though  less  well-informed 
souls  will  give  the  two  syllables. 
Recently  a  smaller  brougham  with 
rounded  front  has  come  to  be  called, 
by  leading  people,  'cask',  and  even 

Brown  (Mooney's,  Strand).  Two 
pennyworth  of  whisky.  Evasive, 
delicate  mode  of  getting  a  2d.  drink, 
the  usual  whisky  -  gargle  being  half 
sixpence.  Good  example  of  a  singu- 
larly local  passing  word.  Mooney's 
is  the  Irish  whisky  -  house  of  the 
whole  Strand. 

Brown  George  (Oxford  fin,  1890 
on).  Large  jug  holding  bath-water, 
from  its  colour,  and  the  name  of  the 
earth  en  warer. 

Brown  Polish  (Anglo  -  Amer.). 
A  mulatto.  Outcome  of  the  use  of 
tan  -  coloured  boots.  Grotesquely 
graphic  —  on  the  lines  of  Day  and 
Martin  (1840)  describing  a  negro, 
because  D.  &  M.'s  blacking  was  so 

Brown  Stone  Fronts  (Amer.  poli- 
tical). Aristocrats. 

The  dream  of  the  rich  New  Yorker, 
realised  in  the  case  of  Mr  Vanderbilt,  is 
to  live  in  a  brown  stone  house. 

In  New  York  politics,  efforts  are  some- 
times made  to  bring  about  what  are  called 
the  primary  elections  in  July,  because  in 
that  month,  as  it  is  said,  '  the  brown 
stone  fronts  are  out  of  town'. — D.  N., 
10th  October  1883, 

The  height  of  respectability  is  to 
live  in  a  brown  stone-fronted  house — 
that  is  to  say,  to  show  a  bold  veneer  of 
brown  stone  to  the  world  that  passes 
along  the  main  street,  putting  off  your 
neighbours  at  the  back  with  ordinary 
brick. — Neicsp.  Cutting. 

Brown  Study  (Soc.)  Deep  study. 
But  why  brown  ?  Blue,  or  black  and 
white  would  be  more  appropriate. 
Possibly  from  a  celebrated  'varsity  man 
given  to  being  lost  in  thought. 

Brown  to  (Com.  Classes).  To 
understand.  Origin  very  obscure — 
probably  from  a  keen  man  of  this 
name.  '  He  didn't  brown  to  what  she 
was  saying— not  a  little  bit.'  Possibly 
from  meat  proving  its  goodness  by 
handsomely  browning  while  on  the 

Brown  'un,  The  (Sporting,  1870). 
The  Sporting  Times — from  the  then 
tone  of  its  paper.  (See  Pink  'un. ) 

Brownies  (Loiver  London,  1896). 
Common  cigarettes — three  for  one  half- 
penny. From  proper  name,  Brown. 
Outcome  of  cigarette-smoking. 

To  meet  humbler  feminine  wants  there 
are  now  halfpenny  packets  of  cigarettes 
containing  three,  known  as  '  Brownies.' — 
Z>.  T.,  3rd  March  1898. 

Bruffam  (Soc.,  1860  on).  A  droll 
variation  of  Brougham,  the  small  car- 
riage known  by  that  name — Brough 
itself  being  pronounced  Bruff.  Another 
illustration  of  the  '  gh '  eccentricities. 

A  story  runs  that  Brougham,  on  being 
rallied  by  the  Iron  Duke  as  a  man  whose 
name  would  go  down  to  posterity  as  a 
great  lawyer,  statesman,  etc.,  but  who 
would  be  best  known  by  the  name  of  the 
carriage  which  had  been  christened  after 
him,  retorted  that  the  Duke's  name 
would  no  doubt  go  down  to  posterity  as 
that  of  a  great  general  and  the  hero  of 
a  hundred  fights,  but  that  he  would  be 
best  remembered  by  having  a  particular 
kind  of  boot  named  after  him. — Neivsp. 

Brulee  (chiefly  Naval,  1863).  A  very 
obscure  word. '  Term  is  used  at  Vingt 
et  un,  and  consists  of  the  dealer  help- 
ing himself  to  two  cards,  one  from  the 
top  of  the  pack,  the  other  from  the 
bottom.  This  is  permissible  before  the 
new  dealer  commences  his  deal.  He 
has  the  option  of  making  the  brulee  or 
not.  If  the  two  cards  are  not  a  natural 
(one  ace  and  one  court  card  or  ten),  he 
pays  the  unit  to  each  player  of  the 




money  played  for — if  it  is  a  natural,  he 
takes  from  each  player  from  four  to  six 
times  the  stake,  according  to  agree- 
ment. Sheer  gambling.  Not  good 
form.  'N.B.  Nap'  (Napoleon)  has 
completely  swept  away  Vingt  et  un — 
and  'brulee  avec'  —  as  the  French 
golden  youth  might  say.  Probably 
from  the  name  of  the  inventor. 

Brums  (R.  S.  Exchange).  N.W. 
Railway  stock.  All  railway  stocks 
have  names  of  convenient  brevity. 

The  nicknames  of  stocks  at  the  Ex- 
change are,  on  the  whole,  disrespectful. 
Thus,  the  ordinary  stock  of  the  London 
and  North- Western  Kailway  is  known  as 
'  Brums ',  although '  Brummagem '  is  any- 
thing but  a  proper  description  of  so  solid 
a  property.  '  Mids '  will  readily  be  re- 
cognized as  Midland  Railway  stock  ;  and 
an  equal  facility  of  identification  may 
be  claimed  for  'Chats'  (Chatham  and 
Dover),  '  Mets '  (Metropolitan),  '  Dis- 
tricts '  (Metropolitan  District),  and  some 
others.  '  Dovers ',  however,  would 
scarcely  sugggest  at  first  sight  the 
South  -  Eastern  Railway,  nor  'Souths' 
the  London  and  South- Western  ;  while 
the  North  Staffordshire  shares  are  irre- 
verently spoken  of  as  '  Pots,'  after  the 

The  pet  names  are  in  every  way  pre- 
ferable. Who  would  not  cheerfully  lose 
money  on  '  Berthas '  (Brighton  Ordinary), 
on  '  Doras '  (South-Eastern  Deferred), 
on  '  Noras '  (Great  Northern  Deferred), 
on  'Saras'  (Manchester,  Sheffield,  and 
Lincoln  Deferred),  or  even  on  '  Dinahs ' 
(Edinburgh  and  Glasgow  Ordinary)  ?  On 
the  other  hand,  there  is  an  added 
exasperation  in  the  thought  of  having 
rashly  '  put  one's  pile '  on  '  Caleys ' 
(Caledonian  Ordinary)  or  'Haddocks' 
(Great  Northern  of  Scotland  Ordinary.) 
— Neivsp.  Cutting. 

Brush  (Public  House).  Odd  name 
for  a  small  glass,  which  is  an  inverted 
cone  fixed  on  a  thick  stem  of  glass  ; 
used  for  dram-drinking  in  London — 
and  thus  fancifully  named  from  its  out- 
line to  a  house-painter's  brush.  * 

That  little  bloke,  with  no  more  flesh 
on  him  than  on  a  one  and  ninepenny 
fowl,  put  away  six  pots  of  four-halt", 
three  kervoortens  of  cold  satin  in  a  two- 
out  brush,  a  'arf  kervoorten  of  rum,  and 
a  bottle  of  whisky. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Brush  Power  (Artists',  1882). 
Simply— painting,  e.g.  (  Never  was  Mr 
Millais'  brush  power  so  manly  and 
assured.'— Grit,  of  R.  Academy,  1883, 
John  Forbes-Robertson. 

Bryant  &  May's  'Chuckaways' 

(E.  London,  1876).  Girls  employed  in 
B.  &  M.'s  lucifer  match  factory.  Here 
one  reading  is  droll,  the  other  perhaps 
very  cruel— a  combination  too  frequent 
in  peoples'  wit.  Chuckaways  is 
one  of  the  graphic  names  given 
to  lucifer  matches,  simply  because 
after  striking  and  using,  the  remainder 
of  the  lucifer  is  thrown  or  '  chucked ' 
away.  Here,  in  effect,  the  lucifer  is 
applied  to  the  cause,  the  maker.  The 
rhyming  too  should  be  remarked. 
This  same  cruel  meaning  of  chuckaway 
maybe  left  to  the  imagination.  Of  course 
girl  lucifer  match-makers,  following  a 
miserable  and  unhealthy  industry,  are 
not  the  equals  of  Belgravian  match- 
making mothers. 

Bub  (Old'iEng. — now  American).  In 
The  Country  Girl  the  author  often  calls 
her  husband  '  bub.'  In  the  States  it 
is  a  friendly  term  addressed  to  a  boy. 

'  Your  husband  ought  to  be  arrested 
for  working  on  Sunday  ! '  '  Working  on 
Sunday — come  here,  bub  !  Now,  bub, 
if  you'll  prove  that  my  husband  ever 
worked  on  Sunday,  or  any  other  day  in 
the  week,  I'll  give  you  a  dollar !  I've 
lived  with  him  for  twenty  years,  and 
have  always  had  to  buy  even  his  whiskey 
and  tobacco,  and  now  if  he's  gone  to 
work  I  want  to  know  it ! '  The  boy 
backed  off  without  another  word. — 1882. 

Bubble  (Soc.t  17  cent.).  To  cheat. 
'  To  bubble  you  out  of  a  sum  of  money.' 
Decker's  Horn-book,  1609. 

The  well-meaning  ladies  of  England, 
when  they  subscribed  for  that  monu- 
ment, had  not  the  faintest  notion  of 
what  they  were  doing.  They  were  in- 
deed '  bubbled ',  to  use  a  phrase  of  Queen 
Anne's  time.— D.  N.,  1882. 

POLLY.  I'm  bubbled. 

LUCY.  I'm  bubbled. 

POLLY.  Oh,  how  I'm  troubled. 

— Beggars'  Opera. 

Still  used  by  the  lowest.  '  I  bubbled 
'im  to  rights.'  Equal  to  '  bilk ' — a  more 
modern  word. 

Bubble  around  ( Amer.  -  Eng. ). 
Rather  a  strong  verbal  attack,  gener- 
ally by  way  of  the  press.  '  I  will  back 
a  first-class  British  subject  for  bubbling 
around  against  all  humanity.' — Besant 
&  Rice,  The  Golden  Butterfly,  ch.  18. 

Buck  (Soc.,  18  cent.).  Young  man 
of  fashion,  derived  not  from  the  male 
deer,  but  a  diminutive  of  '  buckram  ', 
a  stiffening  fabric  used  in  setting  out 

Buck  Against 

Bucking  the  Tiger 

the  full-skirted  coats  of  the  eighteenth 
century.  The  word  lasted  fashionably 
to  about  1820.  It  is  now  only  used  by 
thoroughly  vulgar  people.  Its  fashion- 
able equivalent  in  the  middle  of  the 
nineteenth  century  was  '  swell ',  which 
is  rapidly  being  vulgarized.  *  Toff '  is 
an  invention  of  the  envious  enemy. 
Buck  obtained  an  other  meaning  during 
the  '70's — a  sham  cab  fare.  During  the 
evening  the  Strand  being  gorged  with 
crawler  cabs,  it  was  determined  to  keep 
empty  cabs  out  of  that  thoroughfare 
from  10  to  11  P.M.  Cabmen  desirous 
of  getting  through  on  the  chance  of 
obtaining  a  fare  from  a  Strand  theatre 
or  restaurant  would  ask  passing  young 
men — fairly  dressed,  if  poor,  to  pretend 
to  be  a  fare  in  order  to  get  past  the  line 
of  police.  This  fraudulent  passenger 
came  to  be  called  by  cabmen,  and  after- 
wards by  the  police,  '  a  buck ',  used 
no  doubt  satirically. 

When  a  cabman  wants  to  drive  past 
the  police  to  get  access  to  theatre  exits 
out  of  his  own  turn  he  puts  a  man  into 
his  cab  and  drives  rapidly  on,  as  if  taking 
a  fare  away.  This  sham  fare  in  street 
parlance,  we  learn,  is  'only a  buck'. — 
D.  N.,  26th  September  1887. 

Mr  Bridge  said  in  this  case  it  had  not 
been  shown  that  the  man  was  '  a  buck  ' 
in  the  ordinary  acceptance  of  the  term. 
Defendant  had  evidently  allowed  his 
friend  to  ride  on  the  spring.  This  was 
an  offence  against  the  regulations,  in 
addition  to  entailing  extra  labour  on  the 
horse.  He  hoped  it  would  be  understood 
that  in  future  in  such  cases,  and  where 
'  bucks  '  were  employed,  the  full  penalty 
would  be  imposed.  —  Newsp.  Cutting, 
October  1887. 

Buck  against  (Anglo-Amer.).  To 
oppose  violently.  From  the  stubborn 
bucking  habit  of  stag  and  goat. 

Buck  up  and  take  a  chilly  (Navy). 
Advice  to  a  man  to  pull  himself  to- 
gether after  a  hard  drink.  The 
*  chilly  '  may  be  literal,  since  cayenne 
is  supposed  to  be  a  signal  help 
in  restoring  the  collapsed  patient  to 
sense  and  sobriety. 

Buck  or  a  doe  (Anglo-Amer. ).  A 
man  or  woman,  obviously  from  the 
habit  and  mode  of  thinking  by  back- 
woods' men. 

The  startled  girl  gave  him  a  glance, 
but  no  other  demonstration  of  recog- 
nition. '  It's  kinder  rough  to  rattle  'em 
along  like  freight  in  this  way  (coffined, 
dead),  but  where  you  ain't  got  no 

plan  tin'  facilities  of  yer  own  it's  got  to  be 
done.  Was  the  lamented  a  buck  or  a 
doe?'— 1883. 

Buck  Parties  (Soc.).  Bachelor 
meets.  From  Australia. 

The  ono  drawback  to  our  pleasure  has 
been  the  delicate  state  of  Mrs  Pen's 
health.  This  sent  me  out  to  what  are 
called  here  'buck  parties',  i.e.,  parties 
of  men  only,  when  otherwise  I  should 
have  gone  with  her  to  (what  she  calls) 
more  civilised  gatherings. — Ref.,  19th 
September  1888. 

Bucket-shop  (City,  1870  on).  Stock- 
jobber's, or  outside  broker's  office. 
From  U.S.A. 

prosperous  merchant's  defalcation  and 
suicide.  Montreal.  SamuelJohnson  .  .  . 
absconded.  .  .  .  Two  detectives  started 
with  him  for  this  city.  .  .  .  This  morn- 
ing he  jumped  from  the  train  at  the 
Tanneries,  and  was  found  dead  with  two 
bullets  through  his  brain.  Johnson  is 
another  victim  of  bucket-shop  specula- 
tion. It  is  known  that  he  has  lost 
thousands  of  dollars  in  these  places.  The 
community  is  indignant  at  the  manner 
in  which  so  many  citizens  are  being  ruined 
by  bucket  shops,  and  steps  will  certainly 
be  taken  to  close  them. — N.  Y.  Mercury, 
2nd  October  1887. 

Bucking  match  (Negro).  Fight 
with  heads.  Fine  example  of  throw- 
back to  savage  life.  Sheer  atavism. 

Stacey  appeared  to  be  the  more  belli- 
gerent of  the  two,  insisted  on  having  the 
quarrel  out,  and  challenged  Kline  to 
fight  him  without  fists  or  weapons.  This 
is  the  usual  manner  among  Philadelphia 
negroes  to  denominate  a  '  bucking 
match',  which  is  not  an  infrequent 
method  of  settling  disputes.  —  Newsp. 

Bucking  the  Tiger  (Anglo-Amer.). 
Gambling  heavily. 

Entering  by  a  green  baize  door,  the 
visitors  found  themselves  in  a  large  and 
well-lighted  room — the  lair  of  the  tiger. 
Gamblers  usually  speak  of  faro  playing 
as  '  bucking  the  tiger ',  but  if  any  one 
imagines  that  the  animal  is  other  than  a 
fat,  sleek,  attractive-looking  feline  they 
make  a  great  mistake.  Only  the  furry 
coat  is  exposed  ;  one  must  join  in  the 
play  in  order  to  get  a  glimpse  of  the 
fangs  and  claws. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

An  oil  region  correspondent  of  a  Phila- 
delphia journal,  who  evidently  '  has 
been  there' — at  both  places — says  that 
'  boring  for  oil  is  like  "  bucking  the 
tiger " ',  or  eating  mushrooms  ;  if  you 
live  it  is  a  mushroom  ;  if  you  die  it  is  a 
toadstool.  If  you  strike  oil  you  have 




bored  in  the  right  place  ;  if  you  don't 
you  haven't. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

In  the  United  States  the  operation  of 
staking  all  one's  money  in  a  gaming  hell  is 
called  '  bucking  the  tiger  '. — G.  A.  SALA. 

Bud  (Amer.-Eng.).  A  young  girl. 
Keal  original  American  discovery. 

The  American  novelist  is  in  rather  a 
tight  place.  When  he  is  in  a  tight  place 
— or,  indeed,  whether  he  is  or  not — he 
usually  takes  the  world  into  his  confi- 
dence. His  grievance  at  present  is  the 
censorship  of  the  '  bud ',  or  young  girl, 
of  his  native  land.— D.  N.,  31st  May 

Buff  to  the  Stuff  (Thieves',  19  cent.). 
Accomplices  who  swear  to  stolen  pro- 
perty as  theirs. 

They  might  as  well  have  the  twenty 
quid  as  not,  for  they  were  sure  to  get  out 
of  it,  as  they  were  going  to  send  some 
people  to  '  buff  to  the  stuff ',  a  slang  term 
for  claiming  the  property  supposed  to 
have  been  stolen,  and  stating  that  they 
had  sold  it. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Buffalo  Boys  (Music  Hall).  Comic 
negroes,  affecting  stupidity,  probably 
from  one  of  the  earliest  nigger  melodies. 

Buffer  (Peoples').  A  catspaw,  inter- 
mediator, illustrator  of  the  couplet 

'  Those  who  in  quarrels  interpose 
Often  get  a  bloody  nose.' 
Comes  in  one  line  from  the  railway 
buffer,  which  breaks  the  impingement  of 
railway  carriages,  and  in  another  line 
from  buffo,  who  in  comic  Italian  opera 
is  always  ill-used.     '  Poor  old  buffer, ' 
said  by  Robson  to  the  ghost  of  Lablache, 
the  buffo,  in  The  Camp  at  the  Olympic, 
by  J.  R.  Planche. 

Buffer  (Navy).  A  boatswain's  mate 
— probably  because  he  is  the  buffer 
state,  so  to  speak,  between  boatswain 
and  able  seaman. 

Buffer  State  (Political).  A  small 
territory  dividing  the  countries  or 
colonies  of  two  greater  states — as  Bel- 
gium, which  is  a  buffer  state  between 
France  and  Germany.  Holland  is 
another  buffer  state.  So  also  is 
'  Andorre '.  So  also  were  Monaco  and 
Mentone  the  *  buffer '  once  between 
France  and  Italy. 

Buffs,  Buffaloes  (Secret  Society)  A 
jovial,  so-called,  secret  society — '  An- 
cient Order  of  Buffaloes.'  Probably  in 
the  commencement  from  '  beau  fel- 
lows ' — as  Hullo  !  my  beau  fellows  ! — 
beau  being  a  word  much  used  in  the 

last  century.  The  process  of  being 
made  a  buffalo  fifty  years  ago  was 
very  simple,  the  victim  being  sworn 
on  the  sacred  ibis.  Before  him  and 
everyone  of  the  elect  a  cork  was 
placed,  when  the  president  told  the 
acolyte  that  upon  a  given  word  every 
man  was  to  seize  his  cork,  the  last  to 
touch  his  cork  having  to  pay  2s.  6d. 
The  word  was  given,  the  victim  saized 
his  cork,  and  as  no  one  budged  or  moved 
a  hand,  evidently  he  was  the  last  to 
touch  his  cork.  So  he  paid  his  half- 
crown.  The  Buffaloes  ( A.  S.  0.  B. )  have 
been  for  a  long  time  a  well-ordered 
society — possibly  too  jovial,  but  cer- 
tainly in  some  degree  charitable.  They 
have  proper  officera,  give  annual  jewels 
of  gold,  not  perhaps  of  a  very  high 
carat,  to  their  officers,  and  have  cere- 
monials, in  some  degree  choral,  as  the 
astonished  outsider  may  learn  for  him- 
self as,  on  passing  a  lodge,  he  hears 
the  brethren  proclaiming  their  inten- 
tion to  'Chase  the  Buffalo',  though 
where  they  would  find  the  buffalo  it 
would  be  difficult  to  say.  Sisters,  i.e., 
brethren's  wives,  come  without  to  hear 
these  things,  and  go  home  trembling 
and  minatory.  The  Buffs  are  strictly 

Buffy  (Com.  Lond.).  Drunk — pro- 
bably Anglicized  from  bevvy.  '  He 
always  goes  to  bed  buffy.'  Or  it  may 
be  swelled  with  drink,  from  French 
bouffi — temp.  Charles  II. 

He,  the  driver,  must  get  up  earlier  and 
go  to  bed  without  getting  buffy,  which 
he  hadn't  done  for  a  week  of  Sundays, 
before  he  found  that  little  game  would 
draw  in  the  dibs. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Bug  (Amer.).  Abbreviation  of  bug- 
bear—a  nuisance. 

The  phraseology  of  Edison,  to  judge 
from  his  day-book  records,  is  synthetic, 
strongly  descriptive,  and  quaint.  .  .  * 
A  '  bug  '  is  a  difficulty  which  appears 
insurmountable  to  the  staff.  To  the 
master  it  is  '  an  ugly  insect  that  lives  on 
the  lazy,  and  can  and  must  be  killed.' — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Bugaboo  (Amer.).  A  panic — of  an 
absurd  and  unreasoning  character. 
1  The  recent  Fenian  bugaboo.'-— 1867. 

Bug -eaters  (Amer.).  People  of 
Nebraska.  This  word  must  be  read 
'beetle'  in  English.  Refers  to  the 
enormous  amount  of  insect  life  in  this 



Bug-shooter  (Schools  mid  Univs.). 
A  volunteer  —  volunteers  not  being 
popular  with  gown — the  system  being 
left  to  town. 

If  you  join  the  Volunteers  you  are  dis- 
courteously spoken  of  as  a  '  bug-shooter'. 
— D.  T.,  14th  August  1899. 

Bugs  (Lowest  Classes).  Wall- 
flowers. From  their  colour,  signal 
example  of  lower  class  tendency  to 
horribly  vulgar  association  of  ideas, 
even  in  relation  to  such  pleasant  visitors 
as  these  blooms — the  first  of  the  year — 
frequently  seen  in  penny  bunches  in 
poorest  neighbourhoods  early  in  Febru- 
ary. Who'll  'av  a  pennorth  o'  bugs  ? 
(See  Bloods.) 

Build  up  (Thieves').  To  array  in 
good  clothes,  for  trade  purposes. 

Jennings  agreed  to  '  build  up '  Archer 
with  clothes,  and  at  another  meeting 
brought  him  a  coat  in  order  that  he 
might  appear  respectable  when  he  visited 
his  old  fellow-servants  at  the  Lodge. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Bulge,  To  get  the  (Anglo-Amer.). 
To  gain  an  advantage ;  from  the  ap- 
proaching conqueror  in  wrestling  or 
fighting  overcoming  the  opponent,  so 
that  the  conqueror's  chest-muscles  are 
forward,  or  bulging. 

Mr  Dodsley  has,  to  use  the  new  phrase 
of  American  slang,  '  the  bulge '  on 
Messrs  Longmans. — D.  N.,  19th  June 

'  You  wanted  to  get  the  bulge  on  it, 
didn't  you?'  'Wanted  to  do  what?' 
*  Wanted  to  get  the  bulge  on  it.'  '  What 
do  you  mean  by  bulge  ? ' — N.  Y.  Mercury, 

Bull  (Common  Lodging  •  House) . 
A  second  brew  of  tea. 

The  lodgers  divide  their  food  fre- 
quently, and  a  man  seeing  a  neighbour 
without  anything  will  hand  him  his  tea- 

pot, and  say,  '  Here  you  are,  mate  ;  here's 
'  bull '  is  a  teapot  with 
the  leaves  left  in  for  a  second  brew. — 

a  bull  for  you.'    A  '  bull '  is  a  teapot  with 
the  leaves  left  in  for  a  secoi 
G.  R.  Sims,  Horrible  London. 

Bull  and  Cow  (Rhyming).     A  row. 

Bull-doze,  To  bull-doze  (Amer.- 
Eng.,  19  cent.}.  Political  bullying. 
The  origin  of  this  phrase  is  absolutely 
lost,  always  supposing  that  it  was  ever 
found.  Mr  Rees,  an  American  autho- 
rity on  obscure  words,  says  (1887) : 

'  A  bull-doze  is  a  term  used  in  inflicting 
punishment  upon  an  unruly  animal ;  the 
weapon  a  strap  made  out  of  the  hide  of 
a  bull.  During  the  existence  of  slavery 
the  term  "bull-doze"  was  used  when  a 

negro  was  to  be  whipped ;  the  overseer 
was  instructed  to  give  him  as  many  lashes 
as  was  applied  to  an  animal,  hence  the 
term  'bull-doze'."  Maybe  'doze'  has 
reference  to  dozen. 

This  word  is  also  used  in  private  life 
to  describe  pestering  conduct : 

Serves  you  just  right  for  bull-dozing 
me  a  whole  month  to  make  this  infernal 
excursion. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

The  following  quotation  will  show 
that  even  in  the  U.S.A.  themselves 
this  term  is  not  fully  understood  : 

'  What  do  they  mean  by  bull-dozing  ? ' 
asked  an  inquisitive  wife  the  other  even- 
ing. 'I  suppose  they  mean  a  bull  that 
is  half  asleep.'  And  the  injured  one  kept 
on  with  her  sewing,  but  said  nothing. 

Bulley  (Westminster  School).  The 
lappet  of  a  King's  scholar's  gown — 
probably  rather  meant  to  describe  the 
wearer  than  the  gown. 

Bullfinches  (Hunting).  High  hedges 
— probably  from  the  name  of  some 
owner  or  farmer  opposed  to  hunting. 

To  the  stag,  we  imagine,  it  is  a  matter 
of  small  concern  whether  his  enemies  are 
counter-jumpers  or  leapers  of  bullfinches. 
—Newsp.  Cutting,  March  1883. 

A  bullfinch  in  Ireland  is  a  stone  hedge. 
—Athenceum,  17th  Feb.  1887,  p.  221. 

Bullock's  horn  (Artizans'  rhyming). 

Put  your  kicksies  in  the  bullock's 
horn. — Cutting. 

Bully  (0.  Eng.).  From  bullocking 
and  bull -tossing. 

Yes,  you  villain,  you  have  defiled  my 
own  bed,  you  have,  and  then  you  have 
charged  me  with  bullocking  you  into 
owning  the  truth.  It  is  very  likely,  an't 
please  your  worship,  that  I  should  bul- 
lock him. — Fielding,  Tom  Jones,  bk.  ii. 
ch.  6.  (See  Bully-rag.) 

Bully  (Amer.).  Capital,  good, 
excellent  —  perhaps  from  French 
Colonial  times  in  the  south,  and  from 
*  bouilli' — the  stewed  beef  which  equals 
in  Gallic  popularity  and  stability  the 
4  roast '  of  England  and  the  States. 

'  What's  the  matter  with  you  ? '  '  My 
leg's  smashed,'  says  he.  'Can't  yer 
walk  ? '  'No.'  ' Can  yer  see  ?  '  Yes.' 

'  Well,'  says  I,  '  you're  a Rebel,  but 

will  you  do  me  a  little  favour ? '  'I  will,' 
says  he,  '  ef  I  ken.'  Then  I  says,  '  Well, 
ole  butternut,  I  can't  see  nothin*.  My 
eyes  is  knocked  out,  but  I  ken  walk. 
Come  over  yere.  Let's  git  out  o'  this. 
You  pint  the  way,  an'  I'll  tote  yer  off  the 
field  on  my  back.'  '  Bully  for  you,'  says 
he.  And  so  we  managed  to  git  together. 
We  shook  hands  on  it.— 1863. 


Bully  about  the  Muzzle 

Buncombe  or  Bunkum 

Mr  Rees  (N.  York)  says :  '  Bully '  is 
used  as  indicating  satisfaction  amongst 
lower  English  classes — as  '  Never  mind, 
as  they  say  in  the  waxey  crowd,  he's  a 
bully  boy.' 

Captain  Townshend  saw  an  omnibus 
pole  strike  a  gentleman's  horse  in  the 
flank,  knocking  over  both  steed  and  rider, 
and  the  man,  calling  out  'Bully  for 
you,'  drove  away  laughing. 

Bully  about  the  muzzle  (Dog- 
fanciers'}.  Too  thick  and  large  in  the 

'  Angelina  [a  terrier]  is  bully  about  the 
muzzle,'  said  Maulevrier  ;  we  shall  have 
to  give  her  away.'  —  Miss  Braddon, 
Phantom  Fortune. 

Bully-fake  (London,  1882).  A  com- 
pound of  '  bully '  —  here  meaning 
advantageous  and  'fake'  action,  or 
result.  Fake  is  said  to  come  from 

It's  a  bully  fake  for  a  dona  when  she 
has  the  fair  good  luck  to  snap  hold  a 
husband  who  will  cut  up  to  rights. — 
Newsp.  Gutting. 

Bully-rag  (Peoples',  19  cent.).  To 
scold  at  length  ;  said  of  a  woman. 
Probably  suggested  by  the  irritation 
caused  to  the  bull  in  the  ring,  or  per- 
haps pit,  by  being  driven  frantic  with 
a  perpetual  red  flag — the  rag.  '  Don't 
bully -rag  me,  woman  ! ' 

Bum-boozer  ( Theatr.}.  A  desperate 
drinker.  It  is  to  be  feared  that  the 
following  line  has  been  seen  in  the  ad- 
vertisements for  artistes  in  the  com- 
moner theatrical  papers : 

'  Bum-boozers— save  your  stamps.' 

Bumble  puppy  (Provincial).  A 
tossing  game  used  to  cheat  simpletons 
— hence  bumble-puppy  means  idiot  and 
idiocy.  Origin  unknown. 

By-the-bye  now  that  we  are  to  be 
legalized  into  such  goody-goodies  that 
little  or  no  sport  is  to  be  allowed  except 
battledore  and  shuttlecock,  egg -hat, 
push-pin,  etc.,  I  am  about  to  offer  a  prize 
for  the  championship  of  Bumble  puppy, 
i.e.,  if  the  police  authorities  will  allow  it 
to  take  place. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Bummaree  (Billingsgate).  A  mid- 
dleman at  the  fish  auctions.  Corruption 
of  bonne  maree.  French  seaside  term 
for  high  tide  or  flood,  and  also  for  salt- 
water fish. 

The  '  bummarees '  or  middlemen  whip 

up  all  the  plaice,  and  carry  them  off  to 

turn  a  penny  on  them  by  breaking  them 

up  into  smaller  lots. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Bummarees  (Cooks').   Corruption  of 

Bain-marie,  a  cooking  utensil  consist- 
ing of  a  number  of  little  pots  in  a  bath, 
or  '  bain ',  of  water  contained  in  a 
large  pot.  The  French  phrase  is  as 
difficult  to  comprehend  as  the  corrup- 
tion— for  Marie  is  beyond  analysis — 
unless  it  is  the  name  of  the  inventor. 
English  books  of  a  later  school  making 
an  effort  to  avoid  the  first  syllable  and 
be  truly  Parisian,  call  the  contrivance 
a  c  bang  Mary '  —  a  very  alarming 

Bummer  (Anglo- Amer.,  1880).  Ori- 
ginally a  commercial  traveller,  from  one 
who  *  booms '.  (Now  —  a  noisy  cad. ) 

'You  are  nothing  but  a  third-class 
society  bummer,  fit  only  to  associate 
with  your  own  class  of  New  York  scum.' 
— N.  Y.  Mercury,  8th  October  1883. 

Bun  Feast  (Soys').  A  woeful 
description  of  a  very  poor  and  meagre 
feast,  where  buns  need  not  necessarily 
serve  to  swell  up  the  juvenile  stomach. 

Bunce  (Drapers').  Goods — probably 
from  a  proper  name. 

Bunch  of  Fives  (L.  Class).  The 
fist  simply — ingenious  mode  of  proving 
the  speaker  can  count  up  to  five. 

One  of  the  associates  of  the  eccentric 
Marquis  of  Waterford  formed  a  collection 
of  door-knockers,  brass  plates,  bell  pulls, 
little  dustpans,  golden  canisters,  and 
glovers'  '  bunches  of  fives ',  of  which,  in 
the  course  of  a  roystering  career,  he  had 
despoiled  private  houses  and  tradesmen's 
shop-fronts.— G.  A.  Sala,  Illust.  Lond. 
Neics,  27th  January  1883. 

Buncombe  or  Bunkum  (Amer.- 
Eng.,  19  cent.).  Politically,  or  pos- 
sibly any  publicly,  spoken  flattery. 
This  word  is  an  admirable  instance  of 
a  name  at  once  passing  into  a  language 
and  even  yielding  to  phonetic  spelling. 
The  press,  both  in  the  U.S.A.  and  in 
England,  accepted  immediately  the 
name  as  a  synonym  for  humbug.  From 
a  celebrated  orator  of  honied  phrases 
named  Buncombe.  Vulgarised  rapidly 
into  Bunkum ;  but  the  Americans, 
permanently  accepting  the  word,  have 
restored  the  original  spelling.  This 
name-word  has  as  absolutely  passed 
into  the  English  language  as  '  burke ', 
or  '  boycot '.  Mr  Rees  (New  York) 
says  of  this  word  : — 

The  origin  of  this  expression  was  in 
the  lower  house  of  Congress.  A  member 
from  North  Carolina,  and  from  the 
county  of  Buncombe,  was  speaking  when 
some  of  the  members  showed  disappro- 



bation,  manifested  in  the  usual  manner 
by  coughing  and  sneezing.  The  member 
was  not  long  in  making  the  discovery 
that  he  was  making  himself  very  ob- 
noxious, nor  willing  to  yield  an  iota  of 
his  time  to  any  one,  and  fully  determined 
to  have  his  '  talk ',  addressed  the  dis- 
affected members  thus: — 'Go,  gentle- 
men, if  you  like ;  clear  out,  evaporate, 
for  I  would  have  you  to  know  that  I  am 
not  addressing  the  house  but — Bun- 
kum ! ' 

Bundling  ( Welsh).  Courting — in  a 
reclining  position. 

That  peculiar  Welsh  institution, 
'  bundling '  has  almost  disappeared,  a 
son  of  the  Cymry  tells  me,  from  the 
Principality.  It  was  a  sort  of  union  by 
which  a  man  and  woman  agreed  to  take 
one  another  on  trial  for  twelve  months. 
If  at  the  end  of  that  time  harmonious 
relations  still  subsisted  between  them, 
they  usually  took  one  another,  for  better 
for  worse,  in  the  orthodox  manner.  But, 
if  they  separated,  no  sort  of  disgrace  or 
stigma  attached  to  either ;  they  went 
their  ways,  and  the  world  thought  none 
the  worse  of  them  for  having  lived  in 
open  adultery.  —  People,  17th  January 

Bung  (Peoples',  1850  on).  A  land- 
lord— sometimes  endearing  when  used 
by  dearest  friends,  but  generally  and 
increasingly  suggestive  of  contempt 
and  superiority  on  the  part  of  the 
speaker.  Used  by  a  client  towards  a 
publican  whilst  he  is  holding  his  court 
in  his  own  particular  gin  palace  ;  might 
lead  to  an  immediate  call  upon  the 
chucker-out  to  eject  the  traitor.  Only 
a  complete  '  pal '  could  afford,  with  an 
elegant  but  risky  sense  of  fun,  to  say, 
'  Dear  Bung,  I'll  take  another  bitter ' 
— beer  being  understood. 

Bung  (Public  Schools).  A  lie — pro- 
bably from  some  notorious  liar's  name, 
known  in  some  leading  school,  whence 
it  has  drifted  to  most  schools. 

Bung  Ball  (London  Tr.).  A  great 
annual  Terpsychorean  meet  of  the 
bungs,  or  publicans.  Celebrated  for 
the  grandeur  'of  the  diamonds  —  or 
what  are  said  to  be  diamonds — and 
other  precious  stones.  At  this  function 
artificial  hops  and  grapes  are  never 
worn,  they  being  too  suggestive  of  the 
bar.  (See  Blood  Ball.) 

Bungaries  (Peoples',  1870  on). 
Public-houses.  As  taverning  came  to 
be  looked  down  upon,  the  landlord, 
once  mine  host,  honest  John  Barley- 
corn, etc., became  a  'bung' — whence, as 

general  contempt  for  pubs,  increased, 
bungary  for  his  house  came  to  be  good 
English.  '  Bungs  and  bimgaries  must 
pass  away.' 

Buniony  (Art,  1880).  Terra  to 
express  lumpiness  of  outline,  from  a 
a  bunion  breaking  up  the  '  drawing ' 
of  a  foot.  <  He  has  still  go,  but  he's 
getting  very  buniony.' 

Bunk  (Peoples').  To  retreat  judi- 
ciously. '  I  shall  bunk  ',  very  common 
in  public  schools. 

Bunker  (L.  Class).  Beer — Angliciz- 
ing of  '  bona-aqua ' — an  idea  of  some 
light-hearted  Italian  organ-grinder  in 
the  Italian  quarter  behind  Hatton 

Bunko  (Amer.  -Eng.).  Doubtful, 
shifty.  From  S.  America.  Heard  in 

At  Mackinao  they  took  him  for  a  lord, 
and  at  Cleveland  he  was  taken  for  a 
bunko  man,  and  had  to  identify  himself 
by  telegraph. 

Bunter  (Thieves').  A  woman  thief 
of  the  lowest  possible  kind.  The  very 
gutterling  of  crime  to  whom  no  '  per- 
fect lady '  would  condescend  to  fling 
a  '  'ow  d'ye  doo  ? ' 

Bunting  -  tosser  (Navy)  Signal- 
man. The  signals  are  small  flags 
made  of  bunting,  and  they  are  run  up 
at  or  near  the  mast-head. 

Bupper  (Peoples',  19  cent.).  Uni- 
versal infantile  reduction  of  bread  and 
butter  used,  as  a  rule,  until  the  speci- 
men gets  his  first  paternal  spanking 
over  his  first  pair  of  breeches,  when  the 
word  passes  into  '  toke  '  for  the  whole 
term  of  his  natural  boy's  life,  e.g., 
'  Bit  o'  bupper,  p'ease ' — too  often 
heard  in  the  watches  of  the  night.  Said 
to  be  of  royal  descent.  '  Upon  my 
word ',  said  the  old  general,  '  I  think 
I  prefer  bup  to  anything.' 

Burgle  (Soc.,  1880).  To  commit 
burglary.  Introduced  (at  all  events 
to  London)  by  Mr  W.  S.  Gilbert  in 
The  Pirates  of  Penzance. 

Burick  (L.  Class,  19  cent.).  A  wife 
— said  to  be  Romany.  To  administer 
manual  correction  to  her  is  '  to  slosh 
the  burick '. 

When  your  burick  gets  boozed,  smashes 
the  crockery,  and  then  calls  in  her  bloom- 
ing old  ma  to  protect  her  from  your 
cruelty,  that's  the  time  to  do  a  guy. — 
Cutting,  1883. 



Burke  (Polit.,  19  cent.).  To  stifle, 
quash,  abate — from  one  Burke,  who 
with  another,  Hare,  for  some  years 
early  in  the  nineteenth  century, 
systematically  murdered  persons  of  all 
ages,  in  Edinburgh,  for  the  purpose  of 
selling  their  bodies  to  medical  men  for 
hospital  purposes.  Their  mode  was 
by  stifling  with  pitch-plasters,  which 
prevented  outcry.  Their  victims  were 
first  generally  made  drunk,  except  in 
the  case  of  women.  Hence  the 
appositeness  of  the  word  for  silencing. 
First  used  in  Parliament  by  way  of 
attack  ;  afterwards  accepted  as  a  good 
verb  full  of  meaning. 

Burst  (Policemen's,  1879).  Out- 
pour of  theatrical  audiences  about  eleven 
(of  course  P.M.),  into  the  Strand.  'The 
burst  gets  thicker  every  month,'  said 
the  sergeant.  '  All  the  world  goes  to 
the  play  now.'  The  sudden  popularity 
of  the  play-house  began  about  1879,  and 
went  on  increasing  in  the  most  mar- 
vellous manner. 

Burst  her  stay-lace  (London).  A 
sudden  bust-heaving  feminine  indig- 
nation, which  might  even  literally,  and 
certainly  does  figuratively,  bring  about 
this  catastrophe. 

Burst  your  crust  (Prize-ring,  1800, 
etc.).  Breaking  the  skin.  Went  to 

It  is  not  good  manners  to  do  so,  and 
you  might  slip  and  burst  your  crust  by 
so  doing. — American  Comic  Etiquette  for 

Bury  (Low  Life).     To  desert. 

Buryen'  face  (Amer.)  Solemn, 
serious  countenance — burying  face. 

Boon's  I  could  git  my  buryen'  face  on, 
I  takes  Spider  in  ter  whar  the  fuss  wuz 
goin'  on. — Tobe  Hodge. 

Bus  (Soc.,  1881).  Dowdy  dress. 
Applied  only  to  women ;  when  a  badly- 
dressed  victim  enters  a  drawing-room 
this  fatal  word  may  be  used — meaning 
not  so  much  that  the  lady  has  come  by 
bus  as  that  her  style  of  dress  is  not 
fitted  to  any  sort  of  vehicle  higher  in 
character  than  the  once  popular  one 

Bus-bellied  Ben  (Street,  E.G.,  1840 
on).  An  ordinary  name  for  an  alder- 
man, who  used  to  be  frequently  corpu- 
lent. The  wave  of  abstinence,  however, 
has  swept  even  over  the  corporations 

of  the  City  of  London.     The  satire  was 
completed  by  a  couplet — 

Bus-bellied  Ben ; 

Eats  enough  for  ten. 

Bush-ranger  (Austral.}.  Highway- 
man. Interesting  as  a  comparative 
term ;  for  while  the  word  is  fairly 
equivalent  to  our  highwayman,  it  is 
significant  to  compare  both  with  the 
American  evasive  '  road-agent '. 

Bushy  Park  (Rhyming,  1882).  A 
synonym  for  '  lark '. 

Oh,  it  is  a  bushy  park  to  see  the  Sal- 
vation souls  toddling  about  arm-in-arm. 

Business  end  of  a  tin  tack  (Amer. ). 
The  point. 

The  joke  about  the  pin  in  the  chair, 
and  the  suggestion  that  the  business  end 
of  a  tin  tack  would  be  preferable,  are 
essentially  American.— 7).  N.,  1882. 

Persons  unaware  of  the  existence  of 
such  agents  as  buckram  or  crinoline 
muslin  might  be  forgiven  for  supposing 
that  such  flounces  were  maintained  in 
order  on  the  principle  of  an  air  cushion, 
and  that  the  introduction  of  the  business 
end  of  a  pin  would  produce  sudden 
collapse.—  D.  N.,  27th  March  1883. 

Busker.  He  who  goes  busking. 
'  Now,  gentlemen,  don't  break  out  the 
bottom  o'  the  plate  with  the  weight  o' 
silver  you  'and  this  old  busker.  I'd 
send  round  my  'at  as  more  civil,  but 
yer  liberality  'ud  knock  the  bottom 

Busking  (Street  -  singers').  Going 
from  pub.  to  pub.  singing  and  reciting, 
generally  in  tow  with  a  banjo. 

'  Hang  it,  I  hope  I  shall  never  come 
down  to  regular  busking  ;  yes,  now 
and  again  when  bis.  is  bad,  but  for 
ever — Lord  forbid.' 

'  That  pub's  no  good — don't  you  see 
the  notice — no  buskers  after  7.  They've 
got  their  evenin'  reglers.' — Cutting. 

Busnacking  (Navy).  Equals  Paul 
Prying — unduly  interfering. 

I  wish  old  Nobby  wouldn't  come 
1  busnacking '  about,  worrying  a  chap 
out  of  his  life.  I  wasn't  doing  any  harm  ! 
To  'busnack'  is  to  be  unnecessarily 
fussy  and  busy. — Rev.  O.  Goodenough, 

Buss  me — bub  (London,  18  cent.). 
Baise-moi — evidently.  (See  Country 

Bust  (Street,  1875).  Burst,  or  ex- 
plode with  rage,  and  so  join  the 
majority.  As  a  noun  it  means  a 
heavy  drink. 



A  vulgar  critic  asserts  that  Poe  must 
have  been  on  a  bust,  and  raven  mad 
when  he  wrote  his  famous  poem. 

A  sculptor  can  be  on  a  bust  without 
losing  cast.— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Busted  (Amer.,  19  cent.).  Bank- 

'  We're  busted  miners,  missus,'  began 
Black  Dan,  with  a  wink  to  his  comrades, 
'  completely  busted,  an'  can't  pay.  What 
you  give  us  to  eat  must  be  fer  charity.'— 
Newsp.  Gutting. 

Buster  (London,  1844  on).  A 
penny  loaf.  This  word  has  rather  a 
pathetic  origin.  When  the  abolition 
of  the  corn  laws  reduced  the  price  of 
bread,  it  increased  the  size  of  the 
penny  loaf,  which  at  once  obtained 
this  eulogistic  title— a  corruption  of 
burster,  a  loaf  large  enough  to  rend 
the  enclosing  stomach.  This  term 
remains,  but  not  in  its  appositeness, 
for  whereas  the  baker  in  those  early 
free  trade  days  took  a  pleasure  in 
showing  how  much  bread  he  could 
give  for  a  couple  of  halfpence,  the 
more  recent  baker  has  practically 
abolished  the  object.  Even  his  penny 
roll  is  not  overpowering  as  to  size. 

Buster  (Music  Hall,  1882).  A 
special  giantess,  called  Maid  Marian. 
For  some  time  after  she  left  London 
the  word  was  applied  to  big  women, 
and  for  some  years  the  boys  in  the 
Leicester  Square  district  would  shout 
at  a  big  woman,  'My  high — yere's  a 
Maid  Marian  for  yer  ! '  Marian  was  a 
Bavarian  giantess  brought  to  London 
in  this  year.  She  appeared  at  the 
Alhambra  in  the  autumn  so  success- 
fully that  the  dividends  paid  to  share- 
holders were  doubled.  She  was  sixteen 
only,  more  than  8  feet  high,  and 
was  *  still  growing'.  The  use  of  the 
word  '  Maid '  before  Marian  grew  out  of 
the  suggestion  the  two  words  formed — 
that  of  the  sweetheart  of  Robin  Hood. 
Doubtless  this  title  accelerated  the 
popularity  of  the  giantess,  who  died 
before  she  was  twenty. 

Bust  yer  (Street,  1880  on).  A 
recommendation  to  ruin;  e.g.,  'Bust 
yer,  what  do  I  care  about  that  ? ' 

Busy  Sack  (Travellers').  A  carpet 
bag.  Good  word,  and  capital  equivalent 
to  the  American  '  hand-grip ',  given  to 
the  small  hand-bag. 

Butcher  (Public  House).  One  of 
the  synonyms  for  '  stout '  —  obtained 

probably  from  general  observation  that 
few  butchers  are  thin  and  narrow. 

Butter,  To  (Cricket,  1898).  To 
miss,  fail  to  catch  —  from  butter- 
fingers,  or  rather  buttered,  so  that 
they  have  no  hold.  In  cricket  gener- 
ally applied  to  the  miss  of  an  easy 

Butter-churn  (Music  Hall  Artistes'). 
Rhyming  for  '  turn ' — the  short  appear 
ance  of  the  performer  on  the  stage, 
which  he  or  she  occupies  about  a 
quarter  of  an  hour. 

When  the  dona's  finished  her  butter 
churn,  he  fakes  his  way  to  her,  and  if 
there's  no  other  omee  mouchin  for  the 
music  why  he  takes  her  to  her  next 
flippity  flop. — Biography  of  a  Toff  Bundle 

Butter  -  fingers  (Household).  A 
servant  careless  in  all  her  ways  — 
especially  as  to  crockery.  As  though 
the  fingers  are  so  greased  that  no  grip 
can  be  made. 

Butter  upon  Bacon  (Household 
English).  Extravagance  —  resulting 
out  of  the  condemnation  of  eating  bread 
and  butter  with  bacon,  instead  of  the 
plain  loaf.  '  What — are  you  going  to 
put  lace  over  the  feather  —  isn't  that 
rather  butter  upon  b'acon  ? ' 

Buttock  and  File  ( Thieves',  18  cent. ). 
Shop-lifter,  evidently  French ;  filer — 
meaning  '  to  escape  quickly '. 

Button-maker  (London).  A  nick- 
name of  George  III. 

The  King  was  familiarly  called  the 
'Button  Maker'  by  one  generation  of 
his  faithful  subjects,  and  'Farmer 
George '  by  another.  His  son  is  still 
sarcastically  referred  to  as  the  'First 
Gentleman  in  Europe '. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Buxton  Limp  (Buxton).  Reference 
to  the  hobbling  walk  of  invalids  taking 
the  waters.  Borrowed  from  the 
Alexandra  Limp  (q.v.,  also  Grecian 
Bend,  Roman  Fall). 

If  walking  is  too  severe  exaction  just 
at  first  and  the  'Buxton  limp'  is  too 
decided,  the  patient  secures  a  seat  in 
the  omnibus.— D.  N.  (Harrogate),  31st 
August  1883. 

Buy  your  Thirst  (Amer.,  passing 
English  1894).  To  pay  for  drink. 

Buz  (Oxford  Common  Room).  Turn 
of  the  don  or  visitor  to  whom  this 
word  is  addressed  to  fill  his  glass — the 
liquor,  as  a  rule,  being  priceless  port. 
'  It's  your  buz  ! '  Very  ancient — 


Buz-faker,  Buz-fdking 

Callage,  The 

supposed  to  be  a  corruption  of  '  bouse ', 
or  booze,  common  London  for  'a 
drink ',  and  to  drink. 

'  In  bousing  about  'twas  his  gift  to 


And  from  all  jolly  topers  he  bore  off 
the  bell.' 

Buz-faker,  Buz-faking  (L.  London). 
One  of  the  applications  of  '  booze ' — a 
buz-faker  being  an  individual,  gener- 
ally a  woman,  or  rather  one  that  was 
a  woman,  who  makes  the  victim  drunk 
before  the  robbery  is  effected. 

Buzzards  (Amer.).  People  of 
Georgia  —  probably  from  the  wild 
turkeys  which  once  abounded  there. 
Singular  return  to  Red  Indian  customs, 
the  Red  Indian  being  always  designated 
by  the  name  of  something  in  natural 
history  associated  with  his  surround- 
ings. Nearly  every  state  has  its  in- 
habitants named  after  this  system. 
(See  Blue  Grass.) 

Buzzer  (Peoples',  1898  on).  A  road- 
motor  of  any  kind,  from  the  noise 
made  during  progress. 

Byblow  (Lower  Peoples1).  An 
illegitimate  child.  Suggested  by  an 
aside  breath.  May  be  from  Carolian 
times,  and  a  corruption  of  '  bibelot ' — 
(a  valuable  small  art  object) — a  term 
which  any  one  of  the  famous  French 
'  beauties  of  the  Court '  might  apply 
to  her  nursling  —  and  one  that  may 
have  been  translated  satirically  into 
byblow.  The  bas  peuple  of  France  to 
this  day  style  an  illegitimate — 'un 
accident '. 

By  the  Holy  Grail  (Hist.).  The 
blood  of  Christ.  A  solemn  invocation 
to  this  day  in  thoroughly  Catholic 
countries,  and  heard  in  provincial 
France  now  and  again — 'Par  le  sang 
real.'  It  is  heard  in  England,  in  the 
west  only,  and  there  very  naturally 
reformationised  into  '  By  the  Holy 
Grill '  —  for  Grail  has  no  meaning, 
while  'grill'  has  a  deal.  Probably 
here  the  grill  refers  to  St  Lawrence, 
who  was  completed  by  being  grilled. 
In  Paris  this  invocation  is  represented 
by  '  Sacre ',  and  '  Sacre*  Dieu ' — '  Sang 
Real  de  Dieu.'  The  English  phrase 
has  much  exercis«d  English  ety- 
mologists. Many  have  assumed  that 
the  '  grail '  was  a  round  dish  in  which 
the  Redeemer  broke  the  bread.  Nay, 
there  has  been  published  a  drawing 
of  this  very  dish.  The  phrase  is 


derived  from  '  sang  real '  in  this  way. 
The  'g'  of  'sang'  thrown  upon  the 
following  <r'— we  have  great;  then 
the  remaining  'san'  has  been  taken 
for  e  saint '  —  holy,  and  then  some 
blundering  early  printer  has  taken  the 
verbal  phrase  'san  greal' — and  trans- 
lated it  'Holy  Grail'— and  thus  it 
remains  to  this  day  a  phrase  utterly 
without  meaning.  (See  More  Blue). 

By  th'  good  Katty  (Lancashire  and 
North  generally).  An  ancient  Catholic 
oath,  evidently— By  the  good  Catherine 
— St  Catherine  of  Alexandria,  whose 
popularity  in  England  is  probably 
proved  by  the  number  of  wheel- 
windows  in  Gothic  architecture.  '  By 
th'  good  Katty,  aw  feel  like  as  if  aw 
should  ne'er  ha'  done.' 

C.  B.  U.  (Commercial,  1897).  Legal 
initials  of  Court  of  Bankruptcy,  Un- 
discharged. Arose  from  the  process 
of  one  H.  H.  who  obtained  goods 
while  an  undischarged  bankrupt  by 
letter  headed  with  these  initials  which 
he  held,  freed  him  from  a  charge  of 

The  superintendent  of  police  stated 
that  there  were  hundreds  of  cases  against 
the  accused,  who  pleaded  that  the  letters 
'C.  B.  U.'  which  appeared  on  his  note- 
paper  informed  his  creditors  that  he  was 
an  undischarged  bankrupt,  the  exact 
interpretation  of  the  letters  being  '  Court 
of  Bankruptcy,  undischarged'. — D.  T., 
23rd  March  1897. 

C.  H.  (Popular  from  Nov.  1882-83). 
Conquering  Hero.  The  term  took  its 
rise  consequent  upon  the  incessant 
reception  of  the  soldiers  engaged  in 
the  Egyptian  War  (1882),  by  the 
playing  of  '  See  the  Conquering  Hero 

It  will  soon  be  a  military  distinction 
not  to  be  a  C.  H.—  Ref.,  19th  November 

C.  O.  (Military).  Soldiers'  Greek 
for  '  the  Colonel '. 

C.  S.  (American  Civil  War}. 
Abbreviation  of  Confederate  soldiers. 

U.  S.  and  C.  S.  slept  together  on 
blankets. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Cabbage,  The  (1883).  A  familiar 
name  given  to  the  Savoy  Theatre, 
opened  in  1881,  and  named  after  the 

Cabbage  Garden  Patriots 

Calico  Hop 

old  '  Savoy '  liberties,  within  which  it 
was  built. 

When  I  saw  the  Cabbage  Theatre 
full  I  thought  to  myself,  etc.— (1883). 

Cabbage  Garden  Patriots  (PoliL, 
1848  on).  Cowards. 

The  phrase  '  cabbage  garden  patriots ' 
refers  to  the  way  in  which  Smith  O'Brien, 
the  uncrowned  king  of  forty  years  ago 
or  so,  was  discovered  hiding  in  a  bed  of 
cabbages  after  his  followers  had  fled  in 
all  directions,  when  they  were  informed 
as  to  the  coming  of  the  horrid  Saxon's 
minions.—  Ref.,  20th  October  1889. 

Cackle  (Theatrical).  To  cackle  is 
neither  to  gag,  nor  to  pong — it  is 
both,  with  cackle  added.  A  ceaseless 
unpunctuated  flow  of  words  and 
phrases  more  or  less  unconnected  and 

'Cackle'  is  a  convertible  substantive 
or  verb  which  carries  a  meaning  for 
which  it  would  be  most  difficult  to  sub- 
stitute any  other  word  nearly  so  effective, 
and  there  is  a  world  of  satire  in  its 
application  to  a  human  goose. — Stage, 
21st  August  1885. 

Cackle-tub  (Thieves').  A  pulpit. 
The  dangerous  classes  evolved  this 
term  in  prison,  where  they  probably 
see  a  pulpit  for  the  first  time. 

Cackling  Cove  (Cadgers').  An 
actor — the  cadger  seeing  no  difference 
between  observing  Shakespeare,  and 
whining  floridly  for  pence. 

Cadaver  (A nglo-Amer.).  A  financi- 
ally *  dead  'un.' 

Three  fresh  Cadavers.  Last  week  the 
Crawford  Mutual  Belief  Association,  of 
Ohio,  notified  the  Insurance  Commis- 
sioner of  that  State  that  it  was  in  the 
throes  of  dissolution.  The  day  following 
the  Northern  Ohio  Mutual  Relief 
Association  and  the  Eureka  Life  sur- 
rendered their  hungry  ghosts. — Newtp. 

See  Dead  'un. 

Cad-mad  (Oxford,  1880).  The  vain 
glory  and  superciliousness  which  over- 
come, and  permanently,  the  better 
sense  of  nouveaux  riches,  parvenues, 
mushroomers  (see),  'Poor  devil — forgive 
him  —  he's  a  cad  •  mad  emancipated 

Cads  on  Castors  (1880).    Bicylists. 

It  will  come  as  a  severe  blow  to 
fastidious  people,  who,  adopting  and 
freely  using  the  rather  stupid  phrase 
that  stigmatised  all  bicyclists  as  'cads 
on  castors',  fondly  thought  that  they 

could  kill  by  ridicule  a  pastime  to  which 
they  took  exception.  —  D.  JV.,  10th 
September  1885. 

Cady  or  Kadi  (Whitechapel).     A 
hat — probably  from  the  Hebrew.     It 
has  the  distinction  of  offering  one  of 
the  rare  rhymes  to  lady.     In  1886  a 
song-chorus  began — 
Met  a  lady ! 
Raised  my  cady  ! 

The  lady  probably  being  of  in- 
sufficient virtue  —  the  context  borne 
in  mind. 

Ca.esa.r&tion(  American).  A  remark- 
able shape  of  evasive  swearing — really 

'  Ow  !  ow  !  Caesaration  !  I'll  kick  the 
head  off  you  ! '  he  roared,  catching  hold 
of  a  fence  and  glaring  at  the  boy. — 
Neivsp.  Cutting. 

Cake  (London,  1882).  A  foolish 
stupid  fellow.  Used  in  good  society, 
Borrowed  by  Mr  Emanual  Duperre  for 
a  comedy  of  English  manners  called 
Rotten  Row,  produced  at  the  Odeon 
(Paris,  1882). 

Cake-walk  (Music  Hall,  19  cent.). 
Negro  step-dancing. 

The  science  of  '  cake-walking '  does  not 
appear  to  be  a  particularly  abstruse 
one.  Indeed,  it  may  be  said  to  have 
been  anticipated  by  the  English  minuet. 
Cake  -  walking  is,  in  fact,  a  graceful 
motion,  conducted  upon  the  toes  and 
ball  of  the  foot.  Yet  there  must  be  an 
unsuspected  amount  of  merit  in  it,  for 
we  are  informed  that  the  Farrells  won 
first  prize  at  the  Madison  Square  Gardens 
in  New  York  before  10,000  interested 
spectators.  ...  As  the  reward  to  the 
dancers  generally  consists  of  an  elaborate 
cake  we  are  at  once  enlightened  as  to 
the  genesis  of  a  colloquialism,  which  has 
become  quite  acclimatised  in  our  own 
land.—  D.  T.,  14th  March  1898. 

Calf  Round  (Amer.  Agricultural, 
1870).  To  dawdle  about,  asking  for 
some  kind  of  help  —  suggested  by  a 
calf  worrying  its  mother. 

'  No,  sir  ;  I'll  die  first.  Integrity  in 
business  transactions  is  the  rule  of  my 
life.  When  I  set  a  time  to  pay  you, 
calf  'round.'  —  Kentucky  State  Journal, 

Calico  Hop\(Amer.-Eng.).  A  free 
and  easy  calico  ball.  This  function 
was  invented  to  evade  expenditure  by 
providing  that  all  the  dresses,  ordinary 
or  fancy,  should  be  strictly  of  cotton. 
However  cunning  people  held  cotton 
velvet  to  be  within  the  bounds  of  a 




calico  ball,  and  so  contrived  to  make 
rare  displays  of  themselves. 

The  Pleasure  League  gave  a  calico  hop 
to  their  numerous  friends  on  Wednesday 
evening,  at  Gerstner's  Hall,  which  was 
largely  attended. — N.  Y.  Mercury,  April 

Calicot  (French).  Originally  a 
trade  phrase  for  a  linen-draperman 
both  in  France  and  England — used  to 
describe  a  '  snob '  or  cad.  '  What  a 
calicot  he  is ! '  E.  Zola  in  Au 
Bonheur  des  Dames  (1883)  uses  the 
word  in  its  original  acceptation  — 
'  Hein — des  calicots  qui  vendent  des 
fourrures  ! '  Derived  from  linen  - 
drapers'  young  men  dressing  expen- 
sively, but  not  purchasing  good 

Call  it  8  Bells  (Nautical).  Early 
drink.  It  is  not  etiquette  in  good 
nautical  circles  to  have  a  drink  before 
high  noon ;  8  Bells.  So  the  apology 
for  alcoholics  before  that  hour  takes 
this  form :  '  Come  along  —  I  fancy 
the  bar  is  this  way.  Call  it  8  Bells.' 
And  they  do. 

Call-money  (Police).  Money  paid 
to  policemen  for  calling  artisans  early 
in  the  morning  at  a  given  hour. 

Attention  to  '  call-money '  appeared  to 
receive  more  favourable  consideration, 
and  sixpences  per  week  for  rousing 
sleepy  shopkeepers  were  matters  not  to 
be  lightly  estimated,  even  though  it  is 
written  in  the  rules,  we  believe,  that  no 
fees  are  to  be  received  from  the  citizen 
who  requires  to  be  roused. — Papers  on 
Metrop.  Police. 

Calloh  (Hebrew-  Yiddish).  A  bride. 
Proper  spelling  of  the  ordinary  term, 
kollah  (q.v.). 

Camberwell  Death-trap  (Camber- 
well,  19  cent.).  Surrey  Canal. 

Mr  Powell,  whose  little  nephew  was 
recently  drowned  in  the  Surrey  Canal, 
has  called  attention  in  a  contemporary 
to  the  dangerous  condition  of  that  water- 
way. He  regards  it  as  a  pitfall  for  little 
boys  who  walk  on  or  play  about  its 
banks,  and  he  tells  us  that  it  is  locally 
known  as  '  the  Camberwell  Death-trap '. 
— D.  ^.,.27th  September  1883. 

Cambric  (Soc.,  18  cent.).  A  shirt 
of  fine  linen ;  later  a  handkerchief  of 
cambric.  Derived  from  name  of  place  of 
manufacture  of  fine  linen.  '  Cambray ' 
or  Cambrick,  after  the  fashion  of  calico. 

Cambridge  lot  (Oxford  Univ.). 
General  term  of  scorn  for  men  of  the 
more  eastern  of  the  two  universities. 

The  distinction  of  this  '  Cambridge  lot ' 
is  of  a  kind  which  is  not  merely  official 
but  individual,  and  of  an  individuality 
specially  suitable  for  recognition  by  a 
University. — Newsp.  Cutting,  1883. 

Camera  Obscura  (Amer.  -  Eng.). 
Le  queu. 

The  Arkansan  walked  behind  the 
stooping  darkey,  swung  his  right  boot 
into  the  air  three  or  four  times,  and  then 
sent  the  sole  whizzing  against  the  darkey's 
cam  era-obscura. — Neivsp.  Gutting. 

Came  up  (Street,  1890).  Come  up. 
Amongst  the  masses  it  is  a  common 
shape  of  small  wit  to  replace  the 
present  by  the  past  tense.  'Came' 
for  '  come '  is  very  common  and  used 
by  most  drivers — who  invariably  say 
*  Came  up '. 

Camp  (Street).  Actions  and  gestures 
of  exaggerated  emphasis.  Probably 
from  the  French.  Used  chiefly  by 
persons  of  exceptional  want  of  char- 
acter. *  How  very  camp  he  is.' 

Can  (Navy).  A.  B.'s  familiar  ab- 
breviation of  Canopus.  Why  classic 
when  you  can  be  colloquial,  and  '  can ' 
is  still  very  colloquial  in  the  Navy. 

Can  I  help  you  with  that  ?  (Peoples', 
1895  on).  Said  generally  to  a  man 
with  money,  or  eating,  or  more 
especially  drinking.  Drolly  begging, 
in  fact — mean  invention.  When  said 
to  the  fairer  sex  the  import  is  different. 

Can  you  say  uncle  to  that  ?  (Dust- 
men's). To  which  the  usual  answer 
appears  to  be  (in  a  dust-yard)  '  Yes— 
I  can.'  Uncle  in  this  relationship 
appears  to  equal  '  reply '. 

Can  you  smash  a  thick  'un? 
(Peoples').  Can  you  change  a  sovereign. 
A  grim  sign  of  woe — suggesting  the 
common  experience  that  the  moment 
a  sovereign  is  changed,  it  is  '  smashed ' 
or  gone. 

Canader  ( Oxford  '  er ').  A  Canadian 
canoe — this  word  being  canoer.  Accent 
on  the  second  in  Canader. 

Canaries  (London,  1882).  Charity 
subscription  papers.  This  term  took 
its  rise  from  the  use  of  the  word  by 
Booth,  the  General  of  the  Salvation 
Army.  The  colours  of  the  Army  were 
red  and  yellow,  probably  in  close 
imitation  of  the  scarlet  and  gold  of  the 
officers  of  the  Guards.  The  idea  of 




using  yellow  paper  for  subscription 
lists  probably  arose  from  the  combined 
facts  that  yellow  paper  is  cheap  and 
that  yellow  was  one  of  the  Army 
colours.  On  the  other  hand,  red 
paper  is  very  expensive.  General 
Booth,  who  had  a  marked  tendency 
to  very  simple  forms  of  humour, 
named  these  papers  *  Canaries '.  The 
word  '  took '  at  once. 

Canary  (Music  Hall,  1870).  Chorus  - 
singer  amongst  the  public — generally 
in  gallery.  Invented  by  Leybourne, 
a  comic  singer,  probably  to  give  him 
rest  between  his  verses,  he  being 
pulmonary.  '  Go  it,  canaries ',  he 
flatteringly  would  say,  meaning  that 
they  sang  like  canaries. 

Chorus-singing  by  the  canaries  has 
long  been  a  South  London  Institution. — 
Ref.,  March  1886. 

Canary  (Costermonger,  1876).  An 
ideal  hip  adornment. 

Upper  Benjamin  built  on  a  downy 
plan,  velveteen  taoc,  kerseymere  kicksies, 
built  very  slap  up,  with  the  artful  dodge, 
a  canary,  very  hanky  panky,  with  a 
double  fakement  down  the  side. — Gutting. 

Very  difficult  of  explanation,  and  in 
true  descent  from  the  cod-piece,  though 
not  so  glaring  in  its  declaration.  It 
has  also  some  association  with  '  II  Ruos- 
signuole ',  as  spoken  of  in  the  sprightly 
pages  of  Boccacio. 

Canary  Bird  (Peoples').  A  sove- 
reign. Canary,  as  something  charming, 
is  often  associated  with  pleasant  things 
that  are  yellow.  '  Yes,  it's  a  canary 
bird,  but  it  will  soon  fly  away  to  my 
landlord.  He  gets  them  all ! ' 

Candid  Friend  (Soc.,  1860).  Equi- 
valent of  the  damned  kind  friend  of 
Sir  Peter  Teazle's.  One  who  says 
what  a  mere  acquaintance  would  stu- 
diously avoid.  Man  who  urges  what 
he  should  only  admit  with  reluctance. 

Mr  Foster  has  for  a  long  while  taken 
upon  himself  the  unpleasant  r61e  of 
'  candid  friend '  with  regard  to  the 
Government,  and  every  now  and  again 
considers  it  his  bounden  duty  to  chide 
the  members  of  it  when  even  those  who 
are  in  open  Opposition  would  remain 
silent.—  Ref.,  8th  March  1885. 

Candle,  To  (Peoples',  18  cent.).  To 
investigate  or  examine  minutely. 
Figure  of  speech  derived  from  the  use 
of  candles  to  test  eggs,  and  to  ascertain 
if  a  second  sheet  or  other  enclosure  was 
included  in  a  letter.  In  the  last 


century  the  candle  was  practically  the 
only  mode  of  illumination — a  common 
object.  Now,  except  in  the  '  wax ' 
division  of  society,  a  candle  is  fre- 
quently not  seen  from  year's  beginning 
to  end. 

It  requires  a  stretch  of  fancy  to  picture 
forth  an  old-fashioned  post-office,  with 
clerks  '  candling '  the  letters  as  if  they 
were  doubtful  eggs.  The  conditions  of 
a  single  letter  were  that  it  should  be 
written  '  on  one  sheet.'  The  letters  were 
held  up  to  the  light  to  show  whether  they 
required  a  surcharge  for  an  enclosure. — 
D.  N.,  1st  August  1883. 

Candle-shop  (Broad  Church).  A 
Roman  Catholic  chapel,  or  Ritualistic 
church — from  the  plenitude  of  lights. 

Canister  (Street).  A  preacher. 
Evidently  a  corruption  of  a  street 
preacher  whose  name  was  something 
like,  for  instance,  '  Kynaster ',  and 
popularly  Anglicised.  (See  Sky  Pilot.) 

Cant.  Sneaking,  mean,  lying,  faced 
with  assertion  of  religion.  Probably 
first  used  opprobriously  after  the  Refor- 
mation, when  Canterbury  fell  out  of 
grace  for  the  time  being,  as  the  metro- 
polis of  the  English  Church.  Long 
after  the  destruction  of  the  monasteries 
Kent  was  the  headquarters  of  English 
beggars.  It  is  so  perhaps  to  this  day. 
Dickens,  who  died  in  1870,  was  always 
accompanied  in  his  walks  from  Gad's 
Hill  House  by  several  mastiffs,  which 
he  declared  were  for  his  protection 
from  beggars.  The  author  certainly 
cleared  the  roads  about  Gad's  Hill 
from  beggars — and  the  lieges  as  well 
for  that  matter,  for  the  dogs  were  as 
fierce  as  Bismarck's.  The  abbey- 
loupers  always  begged  with  canticles 
in  their  noses  and  mouths,  especially 
with  the  prayer  to  S.  Martin,  patron 
saint  of  beggars.  Cant  may  be  from 
Kent,  Canterbury,  or  canticle,  or  all 
three,  but  it  certainly  means,  as  it 
meant,  whining  imposture  on  a  basis 
of  religion,  as  '  He  doesn't  preach — he 
cants.'  *  Don't  cant,  Bert,  or  I  won't 
pay  a  doit  of  your  debts.'  All  the 
great  writers  of  the  eighteenth  century 
use  this  word — Swift,  Addison,  Dry- 
den,  and  many  others.  Dr  Johnson, 
of  course,  gives  the  word  a  Latin  origin 
— '  Cantus ' — but  does  not  say  how 
the  journey  was  made.  In  Scotland 
they  believe  the  word  came  from  two 
Andrew  Cants,  father  and  son,  time  of 
Charles  II.,  and  both  very  violent 

Cant  of  Togs 


Presbyterian  preachers.  But  the  word 
went  north  to  them,  the  Cants  did  not 
send  it  south,  '  I  write  not  always  in 
the  proper  terms  of  navigation,  land 
service,  or  in  the  cant  of  any  profes- 
sion.'— Dry  den.  '  A  few  general  rules, 
with  a  certain  cant  of  words,  has  some- 
times set  up  an  illiterate  heavy  writer 
for  a  most  judicious  critic.'  The  word 
in  Ireland  is  still  used  for  selling  by 
bids.  *  Numbers  of  these  tenants  or 
their  descendants  are  now  offering  to 
sell  their  leases  by  cant.' — Swift. 

Terra  del  Fue*go  is,  as  the  cant  phrase 
goes,  beyond  the  sphere  of  British  in- 
fluence for  either  ambition  or  greed,  but 
it  has  not  been  forgotten  by  the  British 
missionary  societies. — D.  N.,  14th  May 

Cant  of  togs  (Beggars').  A  gift  of 
clothes.  Here  the  mode  of  begging 
for  clothes  affords  a  word  to  describe 
the  present  or  benefit  gained  by  cant- 
ing. Good  example  of  low  satire 
satirising  itself. 

Can't  see  a  hole  in  a  forty-foot 
ladder  (Colloquial).  Drunk  in  the 
extreme  degree,  for  such  a  ladder  offers 
quite  forty  opportunities. 

Every  night  does  my  husband  come 
home  blue,  blind,  stiff,  stark,  staring 
drunk,  till  he  can't  see  a  hole  in  a  forty 
foot  ladder,  sure. — Comic  Song,  1882. 

Can't  see  it  (Peoples').  Reply  in  the 
way  of  objection,  such  as  '  Do  lend  me 
five  pounds  ? '  '  Can't  see  it.' 

Can't  show  yourself  to  (Peoples', 
1880).  Not  equal  to  ;  as  thus  :  '  You 
can't  show  yourself  to  Jack  Spicer ' — 
or  of  a  play — '  It  can't  show  itself  to 
The  Golden  Prince.' 

Can't  you  feel  the  shrimps? 
(Cockney,  1877).  I.e.,  Smell  the  sea. 
Heard  on  a  Thames  steamboat  when 
approaching  Gravesend,  the  metropolis 
of  shrimps.  (See  Speak  the  Brown 
To-morrow,  Taste  the  Sun,  See  the 

Cantillory  Realism  (Soc.t  1897). 
Onomatope  applied  to  singing.  The 
linguistic  '  find'  of  1897.  Means  sing- 
ing in  which  the  sounds  suggest  the 
words  sung.  Very  open  to  ridicule, 
but  intended  quite  gravely.  At  once 
burlesqued  —  where  '  kiss '  was  used 
the  lips  were  smacked.  If  'thunder' 
came  in  the  words,  the  singer  used  all 
his  bass  voice,  etc. ,  etc. 

Owing  to  his  powers  as  a  vocalist,  Mr 
Louis  James,  of  Walthamstow,  may  be 

on  the  high  road  to  fortune  ;  but  unless 
he  promptly  ceases  to  follow  what  the 
new-fashioned  jargon  calls  cantillatory 
realism  his  rosy  prospects  may  become 
overshadowed.  —  D.  T.,  1st  February 

Cap  (Eng.-Amer.).  Equivalent  to 
'  Sir '  —  but  really  abbreviation  of 
'  Captain '.  Common  in  America — 
gaining  ground  in  England. 

'Fact,  Cap,'  asserted  a  bystander. 

Cape  Smoke  (Cape  Town,  S.  A.). 
Indigenous  whiskey  of  the  colony, 
which  is  very  cloudy  in  tone. 

Mr  Cecil  Ashley  strongly  insists  on  the 
terrible  effects  of  the  '  Cape  Smoke '.  At 
present  this  evil  vapour  may  be  bought 
at  sevenpence  a  bottle,  and  traders 
wander  about  the  country  with  waggon 
loads  of  it,  which  they  almost  force  on 
the  natives. — Newsp,  Cutting,  1878. 

Captain  Bates  (Been  to  see)? 
(Thieves'  and  Street).  A  satirical 
enquiry  of  the  *  How  d'ye  do  ? ' 
character  —  applied  to  a  gentleman 
once  more  restored  to  ungrateful 
society  after  a  term  in  jail.  Captain 
Bates  was  a  well-known  metropolitan 

Captain  Macfluffer  (Theatr.). 
Sudden  loss  of  memory  on  the  stage  ; 
e.g.,  'He  took  Captain  Macfluffer 
awfully  bad.'  Its  origin  is  beyond  the 
hope  of  discovery.  Cut  down  to  Fluff 
and  fluffy. 

The  prompter's  voice  is  dumb  in 
America.  Actors  and  actresses  there 
are  alert  and  ready  for  their  work  ;  they 
don't  '  fluff '.  — Clement  Scott,  October 

Captain  Swosser  (Peoples').  Naval 
cousin  of  the  military  Captain  Jinks, 
both  blustering  specimens  of  the 
services.  Derived  from  a  character  of 

The  inducements  of  Captain  Swosser, 
of  the  Royal  Navy,  to  have  his  portrait 
taken  are  far  less  than  they  were. — 

Carachtevankterous  (Amer.). 
Desperately  wanting  in  self-possession. 
Perhaps  an  intensification  of  can- 
tankerous, which  in  its  turn  is  a  term 
beyond  investigation.  Both  probably 
wild  onomatopes. 

I  have  seen  folks  upon  this  river — 
quiet-looking  chaps,  too,  as  ever  you 
see — who  were  so  teetotally  carachte- 
vankterous  that  they'd  shoot  the  doctor 
who'd  tell  them  they  couldn't  live  when 



ailing,  and  make  a  die  of  it,  jist  out 
spite,  when  told  they  must  get  well.— 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Carambo,  Caramba  (Span. -Amer., 
going  north,  and  passing  to  Eng.). 
Hearty  good  wishes— but  more  honoured 
in  the  breach  than  the  observance.  In 
fact  honestly  translated,  and  loudly 
expressed  to  a  departing  friend — might 
lead  to  the  interference  of  any  police- 
man with  salvationary  or  even  merely 
denominational  tendencies.  Meaning 
elegantly  evaded  in  Spanish-English 
dictionaries.  Much  used  in  the 
extreme  south  -  west  of  France  — 
especially  at  Tarbes.  Implacable 
etymologists  may  apply  at  any  Spanish 
embassy — perhaps  the  Spanish  door- 
keeper, if  there  be  one,  is  the  safest 
professor  of  Spanish  to  trust  to, 
during  this  lingual  search  after  useful 

Carara  (European  passing,  1898). 
A  murderer  who  cremates  his  victim. 

As  she  was  conveyed  to  prison  the 
Mantes  people  shouted  'A  mort  la 
Carara,'  giving  her  the  name  of  the 
Italian  mushroom  merchant  now  await- 
ing trial  in  Paris  for  the  murder  of  the 
bank  messenger  at  Bicetre.—  D.  T.,  4th 
April  1898. 

Carding  (Irish  •  Fenian,  1867-82). 
A  local  torture. 

Cardings  have  very  likely  been  rare 
in  county  Wicklow.  A  carding  is  a 
highly  -  spirited  operation.  About 
twenty  persons,  more  or  less  well  armed 
and  disguised,  break  into  a  cottage,  and 
subject  persons  who  have  basely  paid 
rent  to  a  more  or  less  severe  form  of 
torture.  According  to  the  old  Parlia- 
mentary reports,  carders  'tool'  with  a 
board  stuck  full  of  nails,  but  perhaps 
modern  science  has  provided,  or  modern 
spirit  suggested,  some  less  severe  instru- 
ment of  correction. — D.  N.,  1881. 

Carlylese  (Liter.,  19  cent.).  Bene- 
volent despotism,  Tory  democracy 

To  him '  (Bismarck)  says  Mr  Lowe  in 
the  middle -class  Carlylese  which  he 
affects,  '  to  him  the  ballot-box  was  only 
a  dice-box.'— D.  N.,  December  1885. 

Carnival  (Amer.,  1882).  A  fashion 
or  sudden  practice. 

It  not  unfrequently  happens  that  such 
prominent  events  are  followed  by  an 
epidemic  or  '  carnival  '—to  use  a  much- 
abused  word— of  suicides  and  murder. 

Caroon  (Peoples').  A  five-shilling 
or  crown  piece.  From  Corona,  and 

nearer    the    mark    than    the  modern 
word.     (See  Cart-wheel.) 

Carpenter  Scene  (Theatr.).  Cloth 
or  flats,  well  down  the  stage,  to  allow 
of  some  comic  dialogue  while  the  next 
scene  is  setting. 

The  old,  feeble  device  of  '  forward ',  or, 
as  they  were  sometimes  derisively  called, 
'carpenter'  scenes — because  notoriously 
written  only  to  give  time  for  the  building 
of  more  elaborate  sets  behind  them — 
have  now  almost  entirely  disappeared 
from  the  stage. — Newsp.  Cutting,  6th 
April  1885. 

Carpet-bagger  (Amer. — coming  to 
England).  A  general  term  for  a  poor 
person  who  arrives  with  a  carpet-bag, 
and  becomes  prosperous  by  audacity  or 
unfair  trading.  Originated  by  the 
Confederates,  as  against  the  Federals, 
when  after  the  civil  war  hungry  and 
place-seeking  political  adventurers 
from  the  north  were  appointed  to 
places  in  the  conquered  south,  and, 
arriving  in  a  poverty-stricken  condition, 
soon  showed  signs  of  wealth  and  general 

Carpet  Dance  (Soc.,  1877).  A 
familiar  dance  for  a  few  unfortunates 
in  a  drawing-room,  as  distinct  from  a 
large  dance  to  which  everybody  is 
invited.  It  was  voted  bad  taste  to 
offer  champagne  at  a  carpet  dance — 
or  indeed  to  drink  any  wine  whatever, 
except  claret.  White  soup  was  often 
served,  and  became  as  fashionable  as 
rational,  e.g.,  'Do  come  and  christen 
our  new  carpet  with  a  valse  or  two.' 

Carried  (Rhyming).  Married;  e.g., 
1  He  was  carried  yesterday,  poor  bloke ' 
—  very  ominous,  and  searchingly 
graphic.  The  word  is  obtained  merely 
by  supplanting  the  *  m '  by  a  '  c ' — but 
what  a  suggestion  there  is  of  harrying 
and  rallying  on  the  part  of  the  bride  ! 

Carriwitchet  (Peoples').  A  puzzling 
question.  Probably  an  invented  word, 
in  itself  suggestive  of  bewilderment. 
Or  it  may  be  from  the  name  of  a 
woman  notorious  for  asking  difficult 
questions — say  Carrie  Witchet ! 

Carrots  (L.  Class).  Red  hair. 
This  is  an  interesting  instance  of 
aggressive  Anglicization.  It  has  not  in 
origin  anything  to  do  with  '  carrots ', 
the  colour  of  which  has  never  yet  been 
seen  in  association  with  human,  or 
perhaps  any  other  hair,  except, 
possibly,  that  of  one  of  the  '  lemurs '. 


Carry  me  Out 

Cast-iron  and  Double-bolted 

It  is  a  corruption  from  Catholic  times 
in  England  when  a  red  man  or  woman 
was  called  '  Iscariot ',  the  '  betrayer ' 
in  the  Roman  Church,  and  especially 
in  Rome  where  red  hair  amongst  the 
people  has  always  been  a  rarity  — 
because  Judas  Iscariot  was  historically 
supposed  to  have  had  red  hair.  The 
Protestant  religion  in  England  more 
or  less  parting  with  Iscariot,  the 
historical  name  became  associated  with 
the  vegetable,  which,  by  the  way,  may 
have  gained  its  name,  seeing  its  colour, 
from  the  same  source  as  did  red  hair. 

'  Hello — carrots — what  cheer  now, 
my  lad ! ' 

*  Deceptive — what  can  you  expect  of 
her  ?  Isn't  she  carroty? '  Indeed  to  this 
day  there  is  a  firm  belief  that  red-haired 
women  are  faithless  and  deceptive — 
probably  from  their  frankness,  possible 
rudeness,  yet  general  desire  to  please. 
In  Scotland  '  carrots '  has  degenerated 
into  'sandy',  invariably  applied  to 
red-haired  men,  but  never  to  women. 
Supposed  by  correctly  thinking  people 
to  be  a  nickname  for  Alexander ;  but 
really  a  substitute  for  Iscariot,  and  a 
good  one,  for  there  is  plenty  of  '  sand ', 
or  '  grit ',  or  '  go '  in  most  men  or 
women  with  hair  more  or  less  auburn. 

Carry  me  out  (Peoples',  18  cent.). 
A  satirical  expression,  pretending 
defeat,  humiliation,  and  pardon. 
Sometimes  'carry  me  out  and  bury 
me  decent.'  The  latter  portion  is 
possibly  an  Irish  addition.  Derived 
from  the  prize  ring,  when  the  sense- 
less, defeated  hero  was,  when  quite 
vanquished,  as  scrappers  once  were, 
ignominiously  carried  out.  Or  it  may 
be  from  cock-fighting,  or  both.  The 
dead  birds  were  certainly  carried  out. 

Carry  on  proper  (Common  Lond*, 
19  cent.).  To  behave  well. 

Carsey  (L.  London).  A  house ; 
corruption  of  casa — from  the  Italian 
organ-grinders  in  Saffron  Hill  district. 

If  you're  a  bank  director  and  broken 
up  a  thousand  carsers  of  poor  honest 
people,  that's  the  time  to  do  a  guy. — 
Neiosp.  Gutting. 

Cart  (Peoples',  18  cent.).  A  meta- 
phor for  the  gallows  —  to  which 
terminal  its  victims  were  jolted  in  a 
cart.  Still  heard  in  provincial  places 
—  '  You  be  on'y  fit  for  the  cart ' — 
doubtless  now  used  without  the  least 
idea  of  its  original  meaning.  In 
London  the  cart  travelled,  only  too 


often,  several  miles  from  Newgate  to 
Tyburn  Tree,  whose  site  was  that  of 
the  Marble  Arch  in  Hyde  Park.  Used 
by  all  the  dramatists  in  the  last 

'I  care  not — welcome  pillory  or  cart.' 
— Garrick,  Abel  Drugget'. 

Now  would  I  sooner  take  a  cart  in 
company  with  the  hangman  than  a  week 
with  that  woman.— Farquhar,  The  In- 

Cartocracy  (Soc.t  19  cent.).  People 
distinguished  enough  to  keep  carts — 
especially  dog-carts.  (See  Gigmanity. ) 

Carts  (L.  London).  A  pair  of 
boots — generally  those  of  noble  size. 
Onomatopoetic — reference  to  the  noise 
a  young  navvy  can  make  with  his 
understandings  as  equal  to  that  of  the 
passing  waggon. 

Cartwheel  (Peoples').  A  five-shilling 
piece.  From  its  noble  weight  and 
thickness.  (See  Crown.) 

Carve  up  (Amer.).  To  annihilate 

That  dear  grave  holds  a  disappointed 
chap  who  cum  out  here  from  Reno  to 
carve  me  up. — Neivsp.  Gutting. 

Case  (Fast  Life,  1850  on).  Abbre- 
viated form  of  Casino,  and  referring  to 
the  rowdy  cafes  for  which  the  Hay- 
market  was  once  celebrated.  The 
word  has  survived  the  abolition  of  late 
houses  and  the  closing  of  public- 
houses  at  12.30.  The  word  is  applied 
to  any  common  public-house  or  con- 
fectioner's where  the  business  carried 
on  is  not  wholly  one  of  stomachic  re- 
freshments. *  He  kept  a  case  for  years 
in  Pan  ton  Street ' — may  be  from  Casa. 
'  Case '  is  also  thieves'  English  for  a 
counterfeit  five-shilling  piece. 

Though  Neal  kept  what  is  vulgarly 
known  as  a  case,  and  was  assisted  in  his 
unholy  work  by  Mrs  Neal,  and  though 
both  of  them  at  different  times  were 
concerned  in  the  management  or  direction 
of  other  cases,  he  seems  to  have  consi- 
dered it  his  wife's  duty  to  remain,'  etc. 
—Ref.,  16th  March  1890. 

Casket  (Amer.).  Evasion  of 
'  coffin '.  First  mentioned  in  Webster, 
in  edition  of  1879.  Coming  to  Eng- 
land slowly. 

When  he  got  to  the  house  the  child 
was  laid  out  in  a  handsome  white  casket 
that  must  have  cost  at  least  twenty 
dollars.—^.  Y.  Mercury,  1884. 

Cast  -  iron    and    double  -  bolted 

(Amer.,     1880).      Samsonly    strong. 

Cast  an  Optic 

Oat-meat  Pusher 

Striking  outcome  of  the  spread  of 
engineering  work. 

'  Stranger,  onless  yer  made  of  cast-iron 
and  double-bolted,  ye  hadn't  better  go 
in  till  the  row  is  over  !  '—1883. 

Cast  an  Optic  (Sporting).  A  para- 
phrase of '  look '. 

Cast  skin,  To  (Soc.).  To  rejuven- 
ate—  from  the  serpent  throwing  off 
its  skin  annually,  and  coming  forth 
radiant.  Still  used. 

'Why,  sir,  you've  cast  your  skin.' — 
Farquhar,  The  Inconstant. 

Castor  (Street).  A  hat.  Of  course 
from  the  first  hats  being  made  of  the 
fur  of  the  castor,  or  beaver;  passed 
down  to  the  streets,  where  any  hat  is 
called  a  castor.  Superseded  by  Gos- 

Casuals  (Hotel).  One-day  stayers  in 
luxurious  hotels  at  marine  and  mineral 
water  stations.  From  the  casual,  or 
night  pauper,  as  distinct  from  the 
superior  settled  unionist. 

Another  day  the  '  casuals '  at  the  hotel 
were  mystified  exceedingly  by  a  care- 
fully printed  programme  announcing  that 
a  performance  of  wax-work  would  be 
given  in  the  drawing-room.  —  Newsp. 

Casualty  (Peoples').  A  black  eye. 
From  the  first  Soudan  war,  when 
slight  injuries  were  cabled  under  this 

In  one  of  these  contests,  in  the  affair 
of  the  Cross  Causeway,  indeed,  Scott 
became  what  is  now  called  a  '  casualty  '. 
He  suffered  a  contusion. — D.  N..  21st 
March  1885. 

Cat  (Thieves').  Woman  in  general, 
and  a  bad  one  in  particular.  Sug- 
gested probably  by  her  smoothness, 
the  uncertainty  of  her  temper,  and  the 
certainty  of  her  claws. 

Cat  and  Fiddle  (Hist.).  A  very 
common  sign  for  a  tavern  until  words 
supplanted  rebuses,  which  were  for  the 
ignorant.  The  country  arrival  who 
could  neither  pronounce  'The  Bac- 
chanals', nor  understand  these  three 
dancing  graces,  could  nevertheless  know 
he  '  was  there '  when  he  saw  as  a  painted 
sign  the  *  Bag  o'  Nails '.  The  use  of 
the  house-sign  was  its  power  to  paint 
the  sound  of  a  word  or  words  by 
objects  which  had  a  relation  of  sound 
only  to  the  actual  meaning  of  the  sign. 
Hence  a  goat  and  a  pair  of  compasses, 
one  of  the  Cromwellian  signs  after  the 
Restoration,  represented  '  God  encom- 
passes us.'  Probably  all  the  old 

Catholic  signs,  especially  those  on  the 
road  to  Canterbury,  are  still  in  exist- 
ence. For  instance,  the  rendezvous 
for  the  Blackfriars  as  distinct  from  the 
Southwark  pilgrims  was  'The  Hand 
and  Flower,'  which  lent  itself  readily 
to  the  painter's  art.  It  refers  to  the 
Virgin  and  her  emblem,  the  lily.  This 
house  was  at  the  corner  of  Gravel  Lane 
and  Union  Street,  about  half  a  mile 
from  the  Tabard,  and  it  only  lost  this 
sign  some  thirty  years  since.  The 
Cat  and  Fiddle  is  the  '  Catherine 
fidele',  probably  broiTght  over  with 
the  Conqueror,  for  'a  la  Catherine 
fidele '  is  still  a  common  sign  in  Nor- 
mandy. Obviously  the  Anglo-Saxon 
knew  nothing  of  the  great  saint  of 
Alexandria — but  a  painted  Cat  and 
Fiddle  was  quite  within  his  means. 
Necessarily  these  signs  were  in  the  old 
parts  of  London,  which  in  time  became 
all  the  low  parts  of  London.  For  a 
hundred  years  or  more  '  Cat  and  Fiddle' 
has  meant  a  doubtful  house,  where 
thieves  and  loose  women  abound. 
He's  come  down  in  the  world,  has 
Jim.  He  keeps  a  Cat  and  Fiddle. 

Cat  and  Mutton  Lancers  (E. 
London,  1870).  Name  given  to  the 
militia  in  the  district  of  Dalston  when 
drilling  in  Cat  and  Mutton  Fields. 
When  time,  elegance,  and  the  wave  of 
progress  have  swept  these  '  fields '  far 
away  from  their  present  elysium  the 
term  will  remain  an  enigma.  Probably 
from  a  chapel  or  chantrey  (llth  to 
15th  century)  dedicated  to  Catherine 
Martyr  (of  Alexandria).  It  is  a  good 
instance  of  human  stupidity  in  accept- 
ing sheer  ignorance  as  gospel  truth 
that  within  the  precincts  of  these  fields 
a  publican  had  for  sign  a  cat  running 
away  with  a  leg  of  mutton  ;  his  rebus 
perpetuated  the  absurdity. 

Cat-lap  (L.  tioc.).  Tea  and  coffee ; 
terms  used  scornfully  by  drinkers  of 
beer  and  strong  waters.  Cat-lap  in  club- 
life  is  one  of  the  more  ignominious 
names  given  to  champagne  by  men 
who  prefer  stronger  liquors. 

Bejl  rings,  and  enter  Emperor  and 
Empress ;  and  then  there  takes  place 
the  general  presentation.  A  vast  crowd, 
but  not  much  animation ;  plenty  of  card 
tables,  but  few  players ;  no  supper,  but 
plenty  of  soup ;  also  '  catlap '  in  abund- 
ance. Empress  retires  very  soon  ;  Kaiser 
stays. — News%).  Cutting. 

Cat-meat  pusher  (Street}.  A  mer- 
chant of  cooked  horse-flesh,  the  final 


Cat  o'  Mountain 


term  being  derived  from  his  truck — 
albeit  pusher  means  generally  a  maker 
or  doer  of  something.  Linendrapers' 
young  men  are  calico-pushers,  while 
the  trimmers  up  of  old  clothes  are 
called  faker- pushers. 

Cat  o'  Mountain  (Peoples').  A 
shrew.  A  very  common  example  of 
confused  origin,  for  whether  this 
term  comes  from  catamaran,  a  wild, 
over- sailed  S.  American  craft,  or  from 
catamount  (a  panther)  it  would  be 
difficult  to  say.  Very  common  still 
in  London  street  feminine  statements. 
Yer  catter  mountin',  go  'ome  an' 
wash  yer  pore  childring  an'  don't  dare 
ter  haddress  me,  mum  ! 

Cat  on  testy  dodge  (Soc.  1870  on). 
A  ladylike  beggar  worrying  ladies  at 
their  houses  for  money — if  only  a  six- 
pence (tester),  and  bringing  testi- 
monials in  favour  of  some  charitable 
institution.  These  'cats',  generally 
strong-minded  ones,  take  commission 
on  the  sums  they  get. 

Catafalque  (Fashion,  1897).  The 
high  plumed  hat — especially  black 
feathered,  which  rose  to  its  greatest 
height  in  1897,  towards  the  end  of 
which  year  they  were  sometimes 
removed  to  laps  by  their  wearers  when 
in  theatres  and  a  good  temper. 

The  ladies  with  the  huge  hats  have 
capitulated,  and  George  Alexander  has 
added  another  to  his  many  conquests. 
At  the  last  Saturday  matine'e  there  was 
not  a  catafalque  to  be  seen  on  any  head, 
but  towers  of  plumes  in  many  laps. — 
D.  T.,  25th  November  1897. 

Cataract  (Soc.,  '40's).  Voluminous 
and  many  folded  falling  cravat,  which 
swarmed  over  the  length  and  breadth 
of  the  fashionable  masculine  chest. 

Cat-sneaking  (Thieves').  Stealing 
public-house  pots.  Probably  an  easy 
disguise  for  '  pot '.  Creatures  of  a 
felonious  turn  so  fallen  as  to  take  to 
this  trade  would  have  little  invention. 

Catch  Cocks,  To  (Low  Military). 
To  obtain  money  by  false  pretences. 
Catch-cocks  are  contrived  by  character- 
less soldiers  who  address  gentlemen, 
invent  tales  of  distress,  and  often 
thereby  obtain  money.  '  Joe,  let's  go 

In  the  Kensington  Gardens  a  soldier 
told  a  gentleman  that  he  lost  his  railway 
ticket,  which  was  to  take  him  to  Windsor 
to  join  his  battalion,  and  he  would  be 
punished  if  not  at  his  quarters  at  a  cer- 

tain time.  The  gentleman  gave  him  the 
money  for  his  fare,  but  saw  the  man  go 
in  a  contrary  direction  to  that  of  the 
railway  station.  He  followed  him,  but 
he  ran  into  a  public-house  and  got  out 
by  the  back-door,  and  the  gentleman 
saw  no  more  of  him.  He  ascertained 
that  he  was  a  Grenadier  Guardsman, 
and  that  his  battalion  could  not  be  at 
Windsor,  as  the  Fusilier  Guards  were 
there.  There  is  not  a  day  but  soldiers 
are  guilty  of  such  disgraceful  acts  of 
'  loafing ',  and  they  glory  in  it.  They 
call  it,  in  the  Guards,  'catching  cocks' 
and  'throwing  the  hammer'.  These 
terms  may  have  a  far  more  cogent  or 
obscure  meaning. — Neivsp.  Cutting. 

Catch  on,  To  (Amer.  probably 
from  New  Eng.).  To  make  a  hit; 
to  succeed  beyond  question. 

'Come  down  to  The  Bric-a-brac  and 
I'll  show  you  some  of  the  gentlemen 
thieves ;  the  fellows  who  have  dis- 
covered a  way  by  which  they  can 
commit  highway  robbery  by  daylight 
and  in  the  presence  of  witnesses,  and 
not  to  be  amenable  to  the  law',  said 
Old  Sport  to  the  reporter.  'I  don't 
catch  on,'  replied  the  reporter. 

'  I  don't  catch  on  worth  a  cent ',  sadly 
murmured  the  managing  editor ;  '  but 
as  you  have  worked  on  the  great  dailies, 
I  suppose  it's  all  right.' — Newsp.  Cutting^. 

I  hear  that  Miss  Helen  Dauvray  is 
coming  to  the  Prince's  to  play  'One 
of  Our  Girls ',  the  comedy  which  Bronson 
Howard  wrote  expressly  for  her.  The 
piece  seems  to  have  caught  on  in  the 
States. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Catch-penny  (Street}.  Gutter 

The  origin  of  the  phrase  'catch- 
penny' is  that  after  the  execution  in 
London  of  Thurtell  for  the  murder  of 
Weare  (1824),  a  publisher  named 
Catchpin  printed  a  penny  ballad 
entitled:  We  are  Alive  Again.  When 
cried  on  the  streets  it  sold  to  the 
extent  of  2,500,000  copies,  the  persons 
buying  supposing  from  the  sound  that 
the  ballad  had  reference  to  Weare. 
It  came,  therefore,  to  be  spoken  of 
as  a  '  Catch-penny  affair '. 

Catechism  (Bankruptcy  Court). 

Caterpillar  (Soc.,  1848  on).  A 
ladies'  school.  (See  Crocodile.) 

Caterwauling  (Peoples').  Cat- 
music.  Johnson  gives  up  the  attempt 
to  derive  this  word.  'What  a  cater- 
wauling do  you  keep  here. '—Shakes- 
peare (Twelfth  Night).  Used  now 
only  by  the  vulgar. 


Cats'  Party 


'So  I  cannot  stay  here  to  be  enter- 
tained with  your  caterwauling.' — Gay, 
Beggars'  Opera. 

Cats'  Party  (Sporting}.  Chiefly 
women.  Probably  from  the  high 
tone  of  women's  voices. 

Upon  one  occasion  she  was  at  a  party 
given  at  88  Adelaide  Road.  It  was  termed 
a  'cats'  party',  owing  to  the  number 
of  ladies  who  were  present.  (Laughter.) 
— Mr  Justice  Butt:  Descriptive  of  the 
music,  I  suppose.  (Laughter.) — Divorce 
Court,  Dunn  v.  Dunn  &  Wall,  1st 
February  1888. 

Caucus  (Amer.-Eng.).  Vehmgericht, 
or  council  of  many  tens,  who  secretly 
combine  on  a  given  line  of  action. 
The  word  came  from  U.S.A.  about 
1870.  Primarily  'caucus'  like  'gueux' 
in  Flanders  (16th  century),  and 
'frondeur'  in  France  (17th  century) 
was  a  term  of  reproach,  which  was 
adopted  by  the  party  attacked  with 
this  word  ;  and  used  by  themselves  to 
distinguish  themselves.  Very  wide 
in  its  application.  Mr  Joseph 
Chamberlain  has  done  much 
to  popularise  this  very  important 
word  —  not  yet  admitted  into 

Gordon,  in  his  history  of  the  American 
Revolutions,  says,  '  About  the  year  1738, 
the  father  of  Samuel  Adams,  and  twenty 
others  who  lived  in  the  north  or  shipping 
part  of  Boston,  used  to  meet  to  make  a 
caucus  and  lay  their  plan  for  introducing 
certain  persons  into  places  of  trust. 
Each  distributed  the  ballots  in  his  own 
circle,  and  they  generally  carried  the 
election.  As  this  practice  originated  in 
the  shipping  part  of  Boston,  caucus 
may  have  probably  been  a  corruption 
of  caulker's  meeting.' — (1830). 

'The  House  of  Lords',  says  Mr 
Chamberlain  very  truly,  'has  become, 
so  far  as  its  majority  are  concerned,  a 
mere  branch  of  the  Tory  caucus — a  mere 
instrument  of  the  Tory  organisation.' — 
D.N.,  9th  October  1884. 

'Then  the  noble  lord  says  I  am  the 
Birmingham  caucus.  This  description 
is  flattering  as  to  my  influence  and 
ability,  but  it  is  a  total  mistake.' — Mr  J. 
Chamberlain,  House  of  Commons,  30th 
October  1884. 

Caucus-monger  (Political,  1883). 
A  political  agitator.  Introduced  by 
Lord  Randolph  Churchill  (1883),  and 
accepted  by  the  Conservative  party  as 
representing  the  average  radical. 

They  now  knew  beyond  all  manner 
of  doubt,  that  on  the  4th  of  May  last 
the  Government  of  Ireland  was  handed 

over  to  Mr  Chamberlain,  the  caucus- 
monger  of  Birmingham — and  to  Mr 
Sheridan,  the  outrage-monger  of  Tub- 
bercurry  —  Lord  Randolph  Churchill. 
Dinner  at  Woodstock,  27th  February 

Caulk,  Calk  (Naval).  Go  to  bed 
and  to  sleep,  probably  from  tucking 
in  the  clothes  under  you  in  the 
hammock  or  bunk,  and  so  suggesting 
the  action  of  caulking  a  seam  in  the 
vessel's  side  ;  also  used  for  a  short 
sleep— forty  winks: — '  I'll  caulk  it  out.' 
From  this  word  grows  out  '  caulker'. 
Four  of  Irish  hot;  i.e.,  four  penny- 
worth of  Irish  whiskey.  Quite  uaval, 
and  equal  to  the  mere  landsmen's '  night- 
cap ' — caulk  meaning  to  make  all  tight 
and  weather  safe. 

Cave  (Cave  of  Adullam)  (Polit., 
1866-97  on).  A  secret  political  com- 
bination—  distinct  from  illegal  con- 

You  recollect  a  new  institution  brought 
into  the  House  of  Commons  at  that  time 
(1886).  It  is  called  the  'Cave'.  Into 
the  '  Cave '  entered,  as  was  historically 
correct,  all  the  discontented — those  who 
did  not  like  the  Bill  on  the  opposite  side 
of  the  House,  and  some  on  our  side  who 
did  not  like  it ;  and  the  result  was  that 
the  Bill  was  destroyed,  and  the  destruc- 
tion of  the  Government  followed  it.  We 
supposed  the  '  Cave '  would  come  into 
office.  They  came  into  office,  not  all  the 
'  Cave ',  but  some  of  them. — J.  Bright : 
Bright  Celebrations,  Birmingham,  June 

Many  of  you  will  no  doubt  remember 
that  a  strenuous  effort  was  made  by  the 
Opposition  in  which  they  were  joined  by 
some  '  Cave  '  men  from  our  side  to  frus- 
trate the  Government  Bill,  which  was 
rejected,  and  the  Government  itself  over- 
thrown. —  John  Bright,  Leeds,  18th 
October  1883. 

Cave  Dwellers  (Soc.,  1890  on). 
Atavists — people  whose  habits  are  on  a 
par  with  those  of  the  pre-historic 

A  certain  mining  camp  of  cave-dwellers 
was  wont  to  beguile  its  Sabbaths  by 
tying  up  in  the  same  bag  a  cat,  a  terrier, 
a  monkey,  and  a  parrot,  and  speculating 
on  the  issue. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Caved  out  (Amer.-Eng.,  19  cent.}. 
Come  to  an  end — finished.  From  the 
metal  ceasing  in  a  tunnel.  The  end  of 
the  vein. 

Cawfin  (Marine).  A  badly  found 
ship.  Corruption  of  'coffin'— name 
given  as  suggestive  of  a  sailor  being  as 



Chamber  of  Horrors 

bad  as  dead  who  sailed  in  her.  Became 
popular  when  Mr  Plimsoll  forced  his 

Celestials  (Theatrical).  Gallery 
occupants,  a  synonym  of  '  gods ' — 
from  their  superior  position  to  pit  and 
even  boxes. 

One  of  the  '  celestials '  visiting  Toole's 
Theatre  (pulled  down  in  1897)  recently 
complains  that,  although  he  was  elevated, 
his  seat  wasn't  sufficiently  high  to  enable 
him,  with  Tarn  o'  Shanters  and  Gains- 
boroughs  on  the  heads  of  the  ladies  in 
the  upper  boxes,  to  see  more  than  the  top 
of  the  scenery.—^/.,  5th  October  1884. 

Cellars  (Street).  Boots.  Probably 
because  these  apartments  are  the  lowest 
necessities  in  connection  with  ordinary 
sumptuary  arrangements.  (See  Garret. ) 

Centipedes,  The  (Military).  100th 
Foot.  From  the  insect  of  that  name. 
One  of  the  punning  regimental  cogno- 
mens. (See^~ and  XL's.) 

Cess.     See  Bad  cess  to  ye  ! 

Chain  lightning  (L.  Class,  Lond.). 
Potato  spirit,  imported  from  Germany. 
Filthy  mess — poisonous  to  a  degree. 
Smuggled  chiefly. 

On  telling  him  the  charge  he  exclaimed, 
1  It's  all  nonsense ;  I  only  gave  her 
some  chain-lightning,'  which  he  under- 
stood to  be  some  foreign  spirit. — D.  N., 
22nd  December  1885. 

Chair  Days  (Soc.).    Old  age. 

Why  should  a  cruel  and  humiliating 
malady  torture  the  kindly,  upright,  con- 
scientious spirit,  and  rack  the  strong, 
temperate  bodily  force  spent  in  the  service 
of  his  age,  deserving,  if  any  ever  did, 
easy  '  chair  days '  and  the  supreme 
blessing  of  the  natural  euthanasia  of  old 
age  ?— Sir  E.  Arnold,  writing  of  Glad- 
stone's death,  June  1898. 

Chair  Warmer  (Theatrical  Anglo- 
Artier.).  A  beautiful  or  pretty  woman 
who  does  nothing  on  the  stage  beyond 
he1  ping  to  fill  it. 

Kichard  Whalen  fired  a  pistol  shot  at 
Carrie  Howard,  a  '  chair-warmer '  at 
Esher's  Alhambra,  St  Louis,  at  the  close 
of  the  performance  on  Friday  night.  A 
'  chair- warmer '  is  a  lady  whose  talent 
is  comprised  in  her  physical  charms,  and 
who  can  neither  sing,  dance,  nor  act. 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Chairmarking  (L.  Industrial,  19 
cent.).  Secret  markings  of  licences 
and  employes'  characters  by  masters, 
foremen,  and  others.  Probably  mark- 
ing by  the  chairman  or  master. 
On  4th  August  1894  (see  D.  T.)  a 

complainant,  whose  name  did  not 
transpire,  by  a  solicitor,  summoned  a 
cab-proprietor  for  (through  his  foreman) 
marking  a  licence  with  secret  signs. 

What  two  witnesses  for  the  com- 
plainant regarded  as  '  chairmarking ' 
was  some  additional  writing  in  the  date 

Mr  Hopkins  (the  magistrate  at  West- 
minster) said  it  is  possible  that  the 
licence  is  marked  in  a  manner  to  be 
understood  in  the  trade,  but  if  cabmen 
are  able  to  combine  to  make  their  terms 
— they  have  a  powerful  union  of  their 
own — why  should  not  the  proprietors  also 
combine  and  by  marking  a  licence  in  a 
particular  way,  let  it  be  understood  that 
the  holder  of  it  is  not  a  desirable  person 
to  be  employed  ?  They  are  entitled  to  do 
it.— D.  T.,  4th  August  1891. 

Chalk  against  (Peoples').  Resent- 
ment or  desire  for  explanation.  In  the 
last  century  when  very  few  of  the 
smaller  shopkeepers  could  write,  a 
score  was  kept  in  chalk  on  a  square  of 
wood.  (See  Hogarth's  Distressed  Poet. ) 
It  is  most  figuratively  used  to  desig- 
nate an  unsettled  misunderstanding 
or  grudge.  (See  Score,) 

Chalk  marquis  (Peoples').  A  false 
marquis.  Never  applied  to  any  other 
title  than  this.  Probably  the  result 
of  some  forgotten  pun  or  play  upon  a 

Chalk  out  (Peoples').  Distinct 
directions.  Nothing  so  vivid  as  this 
in  any  well-known  modern  language. 
'  If  you  miss  it  now  —  you  are  a 
juggins.  I've  clean  chalked  it  out.' 

Challik  it  oop  (Theatrical).  A 
grotesque  request  to  obtain  credit — 
the  primitive  way  of  marking  up  a 
credit  in  public-houses  before  edu- 
cation was  extended. 

Chamber  of  Horrors  (Soc.).  The 
name  of  the  corridor  or  repository  in 
which  Messrs  Christie  (King  Street, 
St  James's)  locate  the  valueless 
pictures  that  are  sent  to  them  from  all 
parts  of  the  world  as  supposed  genuine 
old  masters ;  sent,  as  a  rule,  with 
directions  to  sell  at  certain  prices 
most  preposterously  fixed  very  high. 
Phrase  borrowed  from  Madame  Tus- 
saud's  wax-work,  where  this  chamber 
is  coloured  black,  and  filled  with  the 
effigies  of  murderers. 

Chamber  of  Horrors  (City).  Room 
at  Lloyd's  (Royal  Exchange)  where 
are  '  walled '  notices  of  shipwrecks  and 
casualties  at  sea. 




Champagner  (Mus.  Hall,  1880). 
Lorette.  Within  the  last  twenty  years 
the  marvellous  increase  in  the  con- 
sumption of  champagne  —  or  what 
seems  like  it  to  the  unlearned  in  wines 
— has  been  most  marked.  Directly 
the  tap  -  stopper  was  invented  and 
c  fizzing '  Yvine  came  to  be  sold  by 
the  glass,  the  ladies  who  chiefly  fre- 
quent the  better  parts  of  music-halls 
at  once  showed  their  elegance  by  de- 
serting gin,  rum,  and  other  horrors  for 
this  less  damaging,  however  adul- 
terated, drink.  Hence  the  poor  souls 
who  could  not  command  the  '  sparkling' 
and  its  adjuncts,  either  from  want  of 
good  looks,  good  breeding,  or  good 
clothes,  assimilated  the  new  popular 
drink  and  its  female  consumers. 

'  Oh,  bless  you,  she  won't  speak 
now — she's  quite  the  champagner.'  (See 
Tip- topper.) 

Champagne  Shoulders  (Soc.,  1860). 
Sloping  shoulders.  From  the  likeness 
to  the  drooping  shoulder  of  the  cham- 
pagne bottle  as  distinct  from  the 
squarish  ditto  of  the  sherry  or  port 

Champagne  Weather  (Soc.,  1860 
on).  Bad  weather — said  satirically. 

Champion  Slump  of  1897  (London, 
1897).  Motor  car.  On  and  after 
Lord  Mayor's  Day  of  1896  the  motor 
car  claimed  English  highways  for  their 
own.  On  the  10th  there  was  a  pro- 
cession from  Westminster  to  Brighton, 
with  such  a  lamentable  result  that 
the  '  slump  '  or  catastrophe  prefaced 
1897 — for  some  time. 

Has  the  great  motor  car  demonstration, 
which  was  to  revolutionize  British 
humanity,  fizzled  off  into  this?— D.  T., 
15th  February  1897. 

As  this  year  wore  on  a  dozen  or  so 
of  pale  yellow  motor-cabs,  which  came 
to  be  satirically  styled  '  The  Butter- 
coloured  Beauties,'  made  their  appear- 
ance. But  they  had  not  plied  for  hire 
three  months  before  one  of  them  killed 
a  hanger-on  boy  with  its  back  wheel 
gear,  while  in  November  a  driver  went 
drunk  and  amok  with  his  motor-cab  ; 
the  two  in  combination  doing  consider- 
able damage. 

By  the  end  of  November  they  were 
called  the  '  Margarine  Messes ',  which 
grew  out  of  their  first  satiric  name — 
'The  Butter  Beauties '— from  their 

Towards  Christmas  the  motor  once 
more  took  to  its  initial  behaviour — 
and  ran  away. 

The  Champion  Slump  of  1897  was  not 
appreciably  modified  by  the  natural 
history  of  the  motor  car  in  1898. 

Chancellor's  Eggs  (Legal).  Day- 
old  barristers. 

Every  term  a  new  batch  of  what  were 
once  humorously  called  '  Chancellor's 
eggs 'is  incubated.. — D.  T. 

Change  breath  (Amer.  tavern). 
Take  a  '  go  '  of  whiskey — this  certainly 
does  change  the  smell  of  the  breath. 

The  other  day  as  three  or  four  of  the 
old  boys  were  sitting  around  the  stove 
in  Schneider's  sample  room  stirring  in 
the  grated  nutmeg,  Bill  Matson  came  in 
to  change  his  breath. — 1882. 

Chant  (Sporting,  1886  on).  To 
swear — the  last  satirical  popular  verb 
to  describe  '  language '. 

Chanting -ken  (L.  London).  A 

Chapel  (Printers').  Secret  meeting 
and  decision.  The  congregation  of 
unionists  in  a  *  shop ',  to  confer  upon 
any  given  matter  of  trade,  or  even 
personal  importance.  Little  notes  are 
sent  about,  a  chapel  never  being  called 
at  a  moment's  notice.  They  generally 
take  place  at  tea-time,  when  the 
assembly  sit  in  some  quiet  corner, 
drink  their  tea  quietly,  and  as  quietly 
discuss  the  question.  Probably  from 
'  chapter  '—especially  as  printing  in 
England  dates  from  the  chapter-house, 
Westminster  Abbey.  (See  Garret.) 

Chapper  (L.  London).  Mouth — 
from  associations  with  chaps,  chops, 
and  cheeks. 

Chapper,  To  (L.  London).  To 

Chappie  (Soc.,  about  1880).  Re- 
placed chum,  which  had  become  vulgar. 
There  was  quite  a  friendly  meaning  in 
the  word ;  it  was  by  no  means  con- 
temptuous, and  thereby  varied  from 
the  meaning  put  upon  *  Johnny ', 
which  appeared  about  this  same  time. 
Dropped  rapidly  in  the  world,  and 
vanished  from  society  in  the  '90's. 

The  hue  of  vine  and  mulberry  just  now 
is  delicious,  and  makes  us  regret  some- 
what that  the  Mulberry  Gardens  liked 
by  Pepys  when  the  '  chappies '  and 
'  Johnnies  '  of  his  day  did  not  carry  him 
off  to  '  Fox  Hall,'  have  made  way  for  the 
peculiar  ugliness  of  Buckingham  Palace. 
— D.  N.,  1882. 


Charity  Bob 

CJieshire,  TJie 

Charity  Bob.  The  quick,  jerky 
curtsey  made  by  charity  school-girls, 
now  (1883)  rapidly  passing  away. 

A  little  mite  about  eighteen  inches 
high  on  the  O.P.  side  wins  loud  applause 
for  her  correct  rendering  of  the  charity 
bob. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Charley  (Street,  1662-1829).  Lon- 
don street  watchmen. 

In  New  Boswell  Court  might  be  seen 
until  recently  (1868)  a  relic  of  the  light 
of  other  days  in  the  shape  of  an  ancient 
box  (which  used  to  be  drawn  up  from 
the  pavement  during  the  day),  fitted 
for  the  protection  of  those  slow,  anti- 
quated, muffled -up  guardians  of  the 
night,  covered  with  their  many-caped 
dark  coats,  called  watchmen.  ...  At 
length  the  Charley  found  himself  one 
fine  morning  superseded  by  that  ad- 
mirably constituted  and  well  organized 
body,  the  new  police,  as  modelled  by 
Sir  Robert  Peel,  who  appeared  in  the 
London  streets  for  the  first  time, 
20th  September  1829.— Diprose's  Cle- 
ment Danes,  vol.  i.  p.  101. 

Between  the  bellmen  and  the  London 
watchmen  there  was  always  a  close 
alliance,  and  in  the  reign  of  the  Merry 
Monarch,  from  whom  the  Charlies  took 
their  name,  their  identities  were  more  or 
less  merged.—  D.  T.,  17th  January  1894. 

This  same  word  is  used  by  '  the 
general'  to  describe  women's  breasts 
when  well  developed.  It  is  said  this 
term  also  comes  down  from  Charles  II., 
and  refers  to  his  many  mistresses,  who 
certainly  displayed  their  charms  as 
never  women  did  before.  Wilder 
etymologists  assume  the  word  to  come 
from  Carolian  French — 'cher  lis' — 
referring  to  the  painted  whiteness  of 
the  attribute  in  question. 

Charlie  Freer  (Rhyming,  Sporting}. 
Beer ;  e.g.,  'He  can  put  down  Charlie 
Freer  by  the  gallon,  he  can.' 

Chateau  Dif  (S.  Exchange).  A 
grotesque  play  upon  Chateau  d'If. 
Here  the  exchange  is  the  castle  of  diff, 
or  diffs— i.e.,  '  differences '  on  settling 

Chatham  and  Dover  (London  public- 
rhyming).  l  Over. '  This  phrase 
is  generally  used  as  a  pacificating  one 
— in  a  tavern  quarrel,  a  friend  will 
say,  ' Come— Chatham  and  Dover  it' 
— meaning  give  it  over. 

Cheap  beer  (Police).  Beer  given 
by  publicans  at  night-time  to  officers. 


'  There  are  innumerable  publicans  who 
make  a  practice  of  allowing  this  "cheap 
beer  ",  and  it  is  tacitly  understood  that 
all  cases  will  be  treated  leniently  in 
which  those  houses  may  choose  to  form 
the  scene  of  future  action.  The  first 
enquiry  of  a  constable  whose  beat  is 
changed  to  his  brother  officer,  who 
shows  him  ' '  his  new  relief ",  is,  which 
are  the  houses  where  "cheap  beer"  may 
be  relied  upon  to  be  ready  when  punctu- 
ally called  for.' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Cheat  (Thieves',  18  cent.}.  Gallows. 
Fielding's  Jonathan  Wild. 

Check  up  (Gallery,  Theatrical). 
To  'check  up'  is  to  obtain  entry  to 
the  gallery,  not  by  the  ordinary  mode 
of  payment,  but  by  waiting  at  the 
bottom  of  the  gallery  stairs  and  asking 
passers  out,  '  Have  yer  done  with  yer 
check,  sir?' — the  pass-out  check,  by 
production  of  which  the  holder 
obtains  re-admission  to  the  theatre. 
When  the  applicant  gets  the  check, 
he  'ups'  at  once — the  gallery  stairs. 
Theatrical  managers  hold  that  these 
transfers  are  not  legal,  but  magis- 
trates, certainly  in  London,  will  not 
convict  checkers-up  if  brought  before 
them  upon  charges  of  fraud.  '  I've 
checked  up  three  times  this  blessed 
week  ! '  said  the  youth.  '  I  checked 
it  up — I  wasn't  goin'  to  pay  no  bloomin' 
shillin'. ' 

Cheek-ache  (Artisans').  Blushing 
or  turning  red  in  the  face  rather  for 
the  meanness  of  another  than  your  own. 
'  I  got  the  cheek -ache  over  him.' 

Cheeky  (Peoples').  Adjective  form 
of  cheek — smart  sauciness. 

Cheese  and  Crust  (Low  Classes). 
Exclamation  —  perversion  of  Jesus 
Christ.  Frightful  at  first  sight,  this 
phrase  suggests  a  slight  sense  of 
respect  by  its  veiling  of  the  oath. 
Also  a  little  touching  as  being  a 
phrase  associated  with  comfort  to 
those  amongst  whom  comfort  is  little 
known.  (See  Corkscrew.) 

Chen  (Soc.,  1840-55  and  on).  A 
charming  woman.  Derived  from 
Madame  Montigny,  of  the  Gymnase, 
Paris.  Her  stage  name  remained  Rose 
Cheri.  She  was  a  singularly  pure 
woman,  and  an  angelic  actress.  Word 
used  by  upper  class  men  in  society, 
in  the  '  forties ',  to  describe  the  nature 
of  their  mistresses.  Word  now  forgotten. 

Cheshire,  The  (Peoples'  19  cent.). 
Perfection.  Figure  of  speech,  a  meta- 

Cheshire  Cats 


phor  wherein  the  perfection  of  Cheshire 
cheese  is  made  to  stand  for  perfection 
itself.  Good  example  of  homely  coin- 
ing of  words,  e.g.,  '  She's  the  Cheshire 
— I  can  tell  you.'  A  variant  is — '  That's 
the  Stilton.'  Charles  Steyne  was  very 
funny  as  the  ratcatcher,  who  calls 
everything  '  the  Cheshire  '. 

Cheshire  Cats  (Provincial).  Ami- 
able result  of  adjacent  county  criticism, 
— that  of  Lancashire.  Chiefly  used  in 
association  with  the  comparison  to 
'grin  like  a  Cheshire  cat'.  Cat  may 
have  been  derived  from  kit — 

Chest  Plaster  (Theatrical,  1883). 
Satirical  description  of  the  young  actor 
of  the  day  by  his  much  older  and  more 
'  legitimate '  brother  actor.  From  the 
heart-shaped  shirt-front  worn  with  a 
very  open  dress  waistcoat,  and  starched 
almost  into  a  cuirass.  '  Bah — he  is 
but  a  chest  plaster  humbug.'  (See 
Shape  and  Shirt.) 

Chesterfield  (Soc.).  A  long,  white 
coat — originally  made  with  capes — 
now  applied  to  white  coats  generally, 
but  sometimes  to  blue  (1840-50).  Good 
example  of  qualifying  name  being  used 
for  the  object  qualified. 

Chestnut  (Amer.-Eng.).  An  old 
joke  offered  as  new.  Brought  to  Eng- 
land officially  in  1886  by  A.  Daly's 
Company  at  the  Strand  Theatre  in  '  A 
Night  Off',  where  the  heroine  tells  the 
hero  the  play  was  found  in  an  'old 
chest ' — to  which  he  replies,  *  Very  old 
— chestnut  ! ' 

Chevalier  Atkins.  See  Tommy 

Chevaux  de  frise  (Lit.}.  Friesland 
Horse,  or  cavalry — a  tangle  of  spikes 
set  at  right  angles  as  a  rule.  The  Dutch 
had  no  cavalry  in  the  17th  century. 
Invention  of  the  Frieslanders ;  named  by 
the  French  (17th  century)  in  scorn  of 
Dutch  enemies.  Good  example  of  a 
phrase  by  its  construction  suggesting 
an  apparently  more  obvious  meaning, 
for  the  frise  suggesting  'friser',  the 
temptation  to  write  Cheveux-de-frise, 
as  describing  the  tangle,  has  in  many 
instances  been  fatal. 

Chevy-chase  (Rhyming}.  Face— in 
common  use. 

After  listening  for  a  while  her 
chevy  -  chase  gets  serious  looks. — 
Ncivsp.  Gutting. 


Chew  into  dish-cloths  (Amer., 
1882).  To  annihilate. 

The  wolf  came  down  with  his  ears 
working  with  delight,  and  had  only 
reached  the  earth  when  the  goose  sprang 
upon  him  and  chewed  him  into  dish- 
cloths.— New  American  Fables. 

Chic  (Franco-English,  1865  on)— 
Dash,  smartness. 

'  Chic '  in  its  original  acceptation 
meant  simply  '  trick '  or  '  knack ',  and 
was  applied  to  dexterity  of  performance 
before  it  acquired  its  application  to 
elegance  of  result.  A  painter,  for  in- 
stance, was  said  to  have  'du  chic' — 
that  is,  the  knack  or  dodge  of  using 
his  brush  with  effect.  It  was  only  later 
that  a  'stylish'  toilette  was  described 
as  displaying  the  same  quality.  The 
phrase  came  in,  if  we  remember  rightly, 
in  the  early  sixties,  and  with  the  vogue 
of  Offenbachian  opera-bouffe. — G.  A. 

Chicago  Reform  Lawyer  (Amer.- 
Eng.,  1890  on).  A  lawyer  of  lawyers — 
from  the  fact  that  Chicago  is  supposed 
to  be  the  most  alert  spot  on  the  mere 
earth.  'No — he's  not  an  American 
advocate — he's  a  Chicago  reform 

She  devotes  herself  to  finance,  looks 
after  railway  interests  and  her  bonds, 
assisted  therein  by  her  son  and  daughter, 
who  lives  with  her,  and  she  defies  even 
a  'Chicago  reform  lawyer'  to  get  the 
better  of  her.— Z>.  T.,  10th  February  1897. 

Chickaleary  -  cove  ( Costermongers', 
1860).  A  perfect  personage.  Intro- 
duced into  society  above  the  gutter  by 
Vance,  a  comic  singer,  who  used  the 
word  in  a  song-chorus.  '  I'm  the 
chickaleary  cove,  with  my  one,  two, 
three' — the  numbers  probably  refer- 
ring to  the  mere  trinity  of  blows 
required  to  floor  the  enemy. 

The  barrowman's  one  aim  and  ambition 
is  to  be  chickaleary. — D.  T.,  6th  April 

Enterprising  clothiers  at  the  East  End 
make  the  construction  of  'chickaleary' 
attire  a  leading  feature  of  their  business. 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Chi-ike  (A nglo-Amer.  19  cent.).  A 
distance  call  used  by  American 
trappers,  and  borrowed  by  them  from 
the  Red  Indians.  '  Hullo — don't  chi- 
ike  me  like  that  over  there— you'll 
wake  Westminster  Abbey.' 

Mr  G.  A.  Sala  (D.  T. ,  28th  August 
1894)  says  of  this  phrase.  '  Chi-ike  ! ' 
I  have  not  the  remotest  idea  when  this 
slang  cry  was  first  heard  or  what  it 


Choke  off,  To 

means.  Emitted,  however,  from  a 
powerful  pair  of  lungs,  *  Chi-ike '  could 
be  made  almost  as  far-reaching  as  the 
Australian  cry,  'Coo-ee'.  Often  sent 
in  unfriendly  salute  by  street  arabs 
along  the  street.  '  Whoa-chi-ike ' 
addressed  to  a  'toff'. 

And  then  a  crowd  got  round  and 
began  to  chi-ike  the  couple. — Gutting. 

Chinwag  (Hist.).     Talk. 

I  have  not  been  out  of  my  pyjamas  all 
day  and  no  further  from  the  tent  than  to 
the  next  one  for  a  'chinwag'. — People. 
August  1898,  Letter  from  near  Klondyke. 

Chin-music  (Costers'  defiant  talk}. 

One  of  the  toughest  fights  Geoghegan 
had  ever  was  with  Jim  M 'Govern.  The 
two  had  indulged  in  a  lot  of  'chin 
music'  on  various  occasions,  and  finally 
met  in  a  saloon  on  the  Bowery  and 
Hester  street  one  winter's  night,  when 
it  was  snowin'  hard. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Chin-chin  (Naval— passed  into  club 
society).  'Hail!'  'Good  health!' 
'  Here's  to  you ! '  '  Chin-chin,  old  chap. ' 
The  answer  is  *  Pa-pa '.  Origin  obscure, 
probably  — '  Same  to  you  ! '  Dates 
from  the  Chinese  of  Singapore.  '"We 
went  into  the  temples,  and  our  pockets 
were  not  rifled;  we  went  into  the 
prisons,  and  we  were  not  brained  by 
manacled  villains ;  we  mixed  in  crowds 
and  were  never  hustled  ;  and  the  only 
cries  we  heard  were  '  Chin,  chin  ! '  or 
'  Pa,  Pa  ! ' — which  means  welcome  or 
good  fellows.— Clement  Scott,  D.  T., 
1st  August  1893. 

Chip  in  (Anglo- Amer.).  To  join  in 
discussion  ;  to  subscribe  money. 

'  Gentlemen,  let's  chip  in  enough  more 
to  buy  her  a  new  dress.  I'm  a  poor  man, 
but  here's  a  quarter  for  the  old  lady.' — 
Neivsp.  Cutting. 

Chirrup,  To  (Music-hall,  1886  on). 
Applaud,  cheer.  The  word  was  made 
classical  on  5th  March  1888,  when  a 
m&n  was  'sent'  for  a  month  as  the 

alternative  of  being  hissed  if  they  did 
not  '  stump  up  '.  This  case  killed  the 

Pike,  the  stage-doorkeeper  at  the 
Canterbury,  proved  seeing  the  prisoner 
for  some  time  carrying  on  the  system  of 
obtaining  money  for  what  in  the  slang  of 
the  gang  is  called  '  chirruping '.  He  had 
seen  the  prisoner  receive  money,  and  had 
cautioned  him.— Police  Court  Report. 
6th  March  1888. 


Chiv(e)  (Historical}.  A  knife. 
Said  to  be  Romany,  but  it  may  be  a 
curtailment  of  She v vie,  as  the  metro- 
polis of  knife  manufacture,  Sheffield, 
is  called  to  this  day.  If  so,  on  all 
fours  with  '  jocteleg ' — Jacques  de  Liege 
—  who  manufactured  in  the  14th 
century  a  splendid  knife,  long  before 
Sheffield  rose  to  glory. 

Chiv  is  used  on  the  stage.  '  I've 
had  to  be  chivved.'  Mr  H.  Marston 
(1870) — meaning  stabbed  in  the  course 
of  the  piece. 

Presently  Selby  pulls  out  a  chivy 
(knife),  and  gives  Big  Tim  a  dig  or  two 
— one  on  his  arm  and  one  at  his  face,  and 
another  at  his  leg.  Big  Tim  says  to  me, 
'  Costy,  I've  got  it  a  bit  thick  ;  suppose 
I  give  him  a  bit  of  chivy,  and  see  how  he 
likes  it.'  Then  we  all  laughed,  and  Big 
Tim  pulls  out  the  chivy,  and  makes  a  dig 
or  two  at  him. — People.  6th  January 

Chiv(e)  -  fencer  (Criminal).  One 
who  harbours,  fences,  wards  off  from 
arrest — murderers. 

'  He's  a  chive  fencer,  the  director  of  a 
railway,  or  a  swell. ' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

A  chive-fencer  is  also  a  purveyor  in 
the  streets  of  cheap  razors  and  knives. 
Chivy  (Criminal).     Relating  to  the 
use  of  the  knife. 

Chivy  Duel  (Thieves').  A  fight 
with  knives. 

A  'Chivy'  Duel  —  Described  by  a 
c  Costy.' — At  South wark  evidence  was 
given  in  the  charge  of  'intentionally 
and  maliciously  wounding  and  inflicting 
grievous  bodily  harm  on  each  other  by 
stabbing  each  other',  preferred  against 
two  men,  etc. — People,  6th  January  1895. 
Chivy,  To  (Hist.).  To  hunt  down, 
worry.  A  corruption  of  Cheviot 
(Hills),  whence  this  kind  of  attention 
was  much  practised  by  the  early  Eng- 
lish of  the  north  when  swinging  into 
the  Cheviots  after  the  cattle  stolen,  or 
to  use  the  more  northern  term — 
'  lifted ' — by  the  Scotch  more  or  less 
all  along  the  border. 

'Which  a  pore  cove  were  never 
chivied  as  I'm  chivied  by  the  cops.' 

Choice  Riot  (Street,  1870).  A 
horrid  noise,  such  as  the  festive  mar- 
row bones  and  cleavers.  Mildly 
satirical.  *  That  there  baby's  making 
a  choice  riot.' 

Choke  off,  To  (Peoples',  18  cent. 
on).  To  get  rid  of.  From  the  neces- 
sity of  twisting  a  towel  or  other  fabric 
about  the  neck  of  a  bull-dog  to  make 


Chronic  Rot 

this  tenacious  hanger-on  let  go  his 
biting  hold.  Used  against  persons  of 
pertinacious  application. 

'  Choke  off'  in  the  U.S.A.  means  to 
reduce  a  pleading  man  to  silence. 

Choker  (Peoples').  A  lie,  in  its 
most  direct  form.  '  What  a  choker  ! ' 
— such  a  bare-faced  lie  that  the  hearer 
is  nearly  choked.  Also  applied  to  very 
large  neckties  and  for  similar  reasons 
— the  huge  adornment  appearing  to 
choke  the  wearer.  The  masculine 
choker  was  at  its  greatest  in  England 
in  the  time  of  George  IV.,  and  the 
fashionable  lead  of  Beau  Brummel, 
when  it  was  over  a  yard  in  length. 
Now  and  again  a  choker  breaks  out 
about  the  masculine  neck,  but  in  the 
'80's  and  '90's  it  was  steadily  replaced 
by  the  *  ties  '.  The  feminine  choker 
is  always  with  us,  and  assumes  a  new 
shape  once  a  month. 

Chokey  (Sailors').  Imprisonment 
— derived  from  the  narrow  confines  of 
the  ship's  lock-up  and  the  absence  of 
ventilation— chokey  generally  being 
fixed  as  near  the  keel  as  conveniently 
it  can  be  managed.  However,  some 
authorities  maintain  that  this  word  is 
an  Anglicising  of  the  Hong- Kong 
Chinese  '  Chow  Key ' — a  prison. 

Been  run  in  ?  Been  locked  up  ?  Been 
in  chokey  ?  What ! — what  do  you  take 
me  for?  Who  are  you  blooming  well 
getting  at?  Who're  you  kidding? — 

In  a  very  short  time  the  whole  of  them 
were  safely  in  the  chowkey.  The  parties 
implicated  have  been  brought  up  at  the 
Fort  Police  Court,  and  committed  for 
trial. — Bombay  Times. 

Chonkey  (Land.  Street).  A  meat 
pie — derivation  beyond  the  bounds  of 
mere  discovery.  Probably  from  the 
name  of  a  once  historic  pieman,  whose 
fame  remains  a  name  alone. 

Chop  up  (L.  Class  ;  last  cry  of  the 
19th  century).  To  annihilate  ;  a 
variant  of  cut  up. 

Chopping  (Nursery).  Big,  lusty, 
handsome.  Johnson  says : 

'  A  child  which  would  bring  money  in 
the  market '  — suggested  by  chopping 
and  changing.  '  Perhaps,'  he  says,  after 
admitting  all  the  etymologies  to  be 
doubtful  —  '  a  greedy,  hungry  child, 
likely  to  live.' 
<  Both  Jack  Freeman  and  Ned  Wild 

Would    own    the    fair   and    chopping 
child.'  — Fenton. 

Chortle,  To  (Peoples').  To  sing. 
Probably  an  onomatope.  Chortled 
like  the  nightingale,  and  smiled  like 

Many  present  on  Boxing  Night  fully 
expected  that  when  he  appeared  he 
would  chortle  a  chansonnette  or  two. — 
Ref.,  29th  December  1889. 

Mr  Wilford  Morgan  has  been  engaged 
to  chortle  the  famous  song,  '  Here's  to 
the  maiden  of  bashful  fifteen  !  '—lief., 
18th  August  1886. 

Chortle  also  means  to  praise  exces- 
sively. '  Joe  chortles  about  his  kid 
pretty  loudly— it's  'is  fust ! ' 

It  seems  a  curious  time  for  an  Ameri- 
can critic  to  chortle  over  the  recent 
success  of  Miss  Minnie  Maddern  Fiske. — 
D.  T.,  31st  March  1897. 

Chouse  (Peoples',  17  cent. ).    A  cheat, 
to   cheat.      Henshaw  derives  it  from 
the   Turkish  word   chiaus,   an  inter- 
preter, and  referring  to  an  interpreter 
at  the  Turkish  embassy  in  London  in 
1609.     He  robbed  the  embassy  right 
and  left.     In   1610   Ben  Johnson  in 
The  Alchymist  made  the  word  classic. 
'  What  do  you  think  of  me — 
That  I  am  a  chiaus  ? ' 

Johnson  has  this  word,  but  his 
modern  fine  brethren  have  rejected  it, 
though  Johnson  gives  Swift  and  Dryden 
as  his  authorities.  '  Freedom  and  zeal 
have  choused  you  o'er  and  o'er '  (Dry- 
den).  '  From  London  they  came,  silly 
people,  to  chouse'  (Swift).  Butler 
also  uses  it  in  Hudibras. 

Chow-chow  (Anglo-Ind. ).  A  hash, 
or  resurrection  pie,  from  Hindustanee 
word  for  mixed  confectionery. 

Christ-killers  (Peoples',  19  cent.). 
Jews.  Passing  away — chiefly  used  by 
old  army  men.  '  What  can  you  ex- 
pect?—he's  a  Christ-killer.  Pay  up 
your  sixty  per  cent. ,  and  try  and  look 
pleasant ! ' 

Christen  a  jack  ( Thieves').  A  grim 
use  of  baptismal  ceremony — to  replace 
the  name  on  a  stolen  watch  by  another, 
to  defeat  detection.  (See  Church  a 

Christmas  (Oh)  (M.  Class).  Evasive 
swearing.  Used  by  Rudyard  Kipling 
in  The  Day's  Work.  Of  course  it  is 
'  Christ's  Mass '. 

Chronic  (M.  Class,  1896).  Ceaseless, 
persistent.  *  Oh !  Joe's  chronic.' 
*  Charley's  Aunt's  chronic ' — said  of  a 
piece  that  ran  perpetually. 

Chronic  Rot  (Peoples').  Despair- 
ingly bad.  Rot  may  or  may  not  be 



Chuck  up  the  Sponge 

from  erotic  ;  it  is  more  likely  an  appli- 
cation of  the  original  meaning  of  the 
word  ;  but  it  is  now  quite  understood. 
Chronic  is  used  in  its  original  appli- 
cation ;  feutmore  widely  as — '  Oh,  that 
theatre's  chronic' — means  that  never 
is  a  good  piece  seen  there.  These  two 
words  intensify  each  other.  *  Jack's 
swears  to  swear  off '  (drink) '  is  chronic 

Chuck  (Naval}.  A  biscuit — hard 
tack  (see).  Probably  an  onomatope 
from  the  noise  made  in  chewing,  or 
perhaps  from  the  hand  -  broken 
biscuit  (for  to  snap  it  with  the  teeth 
were  out  of  the  question),  being  thrown 
or  chucked  carelessly  into  the  mouth, 
which  is  the  tar's  mode  of  coaling  up. 

Chuck,  To  (Old  Eng.).  To  fling. 
Johnson  gives  half  a  dozen  meanings 
to  this  word,  but  not  fling,  which  is  its 
most  forcible  meaning.  Everything  is 
chucked  amongst  the  common  folk, 
from  a  farthing  or  a  chunk  of  bread,  to 
a  wife  or  a  mistress.  Now  applied  to 
the  process  of  divorce. 

She  had  three  children  by  him  and 
two  by  some  other  fellow,  which  is  the 
habit  of  some  great  ladies,  so  Sir  John 
chucked  her. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Jones  and  Dimsdale  were  arrested  in 
court,  as  they  were  heard  to  say,  refer- 
ring to  the  evidence  against  the  prisoner 
Foster,  '  He's  sure  to  get  chucked  ' — a 
slang  expression  for  discharged. — Police 
Report,  November  1890. 

So  I  takes  the  knives  away  and  chucks 
them  over  a  bridge.  Selby  then  picks 
up  an  iron  bar,  and  makes  a  drive  at  Big 
Tim,  but  T  catches  hold  of  it,  and  stops 
him.  —  Cldvey  DueL  People,  6th  Janu- 
ary 1895. 

They  would  blush  a  maidenly  pink  if 
certain  words  were  uttered  in  their 
presence,  and  then  shake  off  with  relent- 
less severity  and  austerity  any  erring 
sister  who  has,  in  modern  parlance, 
'chucked  everything'. — D.  T.,  John 
Strange  Winter,  5th  August  1899. 

Chuck  a  Chest  (Street).  Generally 
said  of  a  soldier  who  has  a  full  bust. 
To  throw  forward  the  chest,  as  though 
prepared  to  meet  the  world. 

Chuck  a  Dummy  (Tailors').  To 
faint.  Very  interesting  as  illustrating 
the  influence  familiar  objects  have  in 
framing  new  ideas— from  the  similarity 
of  a  falling  fainting  man  to  an  over- 
thrown or  chucked  tailor's  dummy — a 
ligure  upon  which  eoats  are  fitted  to 
show  them  off1  for  sale.  '  I  chucked  a 


dummy  this  mornin',  an'  'ad  to  be 
brought  to  with  o-der-wee  !' 

'  Chuck  it  out,  Creswick '  —  then 
manager  of  Surrey. 

'Yes,  and  chuck  it  out  quick,  cully,' 
observed  Sir  John  Adamant. — Cutting. 

Chuck  a  Shoulder  (Costers').  To 
turn  away — said  chiefly  by  the  male 
coster  of  the  female;  e.g.,  'Which 
she  chucked  me  a  shoulder,  an'  not  the 
one  I  want — an'  'av  been  on  hice  ever 
the  mortal  since.' 

Chuck  a  yannep  (Back  Slang).  To 
throw  a  penny. 

'  The  Lord  loveth  a  cheerful  giver ' ; 
but  there's  no  use  chucking  a  yannep 
into  the  collection  plate  loud  enough  to 
make  the  people  in  the  back  seats  think 
the  Communion  service  has  tumbled  off 
the  altar. — Cutting. 

Chuck  his  weight  about,  To 
(Milit.).  To  demonstrate  his  physical 
magnificence  —  generally  said  of  any 
soldier  who  is  showing  off,  but  more 
particularly  one  of  the  household 
brigades.  '  So  'e  turned  up,  and 
chucked  'is  weight  about  all  over 
the  blooming  place — he  did.' 

Chuck  out  ink  (Press  Reporters'). 
To  write  articles. 

Suddenly  it  came  across  my  mind  that 
the  boss  might  be  waiting  about  for  me 
somewhere  with  a  big  boot  and  genteel 
language,  and  that  it  might  be  better 
for  my  health  if  I  chucked  out  ink. — 

Chuck  over  the  lug  (Peoples').  To 
thwack  over  the  ear— lug  being  high 
Scotch  for  the  auricular.  (See  Poultice 
over  the  peeper,  One  over  the  gash.) 

Chuck  up,  To  (L.  London).  To 

Did  she  mean,  we  says,  to  chuck  us 
up  ?  Of  course  she  did,  says  she,  flaring 
up  like  a  mill  on  fire. — Cutting. 

1  But  after  all,  cullies,  being  mashed  on 
a  dona  is  nothing  ;  it's  when  the  bit  of 
jam  chucks  you  up — that  is  the  stinger.' 
— Cutting. 

Chuck  up  the  bunch  of  fives 
(Pugilistic).  To  die.  The  one  poetic 
figure  of  speech  engendered  by  the 
prize  ring.  The  fives  are  the  two  sets 
of  four  fingers  and  a  thumb — the  fists 
—  the  '  bunches '  —  flaccid  in  death. 
*  Pore  Ben — 'e's  been  an'  gorne  an' 
chucked  up  'is  bunches  o'  fives.' 

Chuck  up  the  sponge  (Prize  Ring). 
To  admit  defeat — by  way  of  a  pugilist's 
attendant,  at  his  chiefs  failure, 
throwing  up  the  sponge  with  which  he 

Chuck  your  Money  about 


has  been  refreshing  his  principal.  This 
custom  was,  and  is,  applied  to  death. 
All  trades  yield  these  figurative  modes 
of  referring  to  birth,  marriage,  death, 
and  money. 

'Bill  chucked  up  the  sponge  this 

Chuck  your  money  about  (Street, 
1894  on).  A  satirical  but  good  - 
tempered  reproach  cast  at  meanness, 
or  insufficient  reward.  '  Jack — you've 
done  me  a  real  good  turn — yere's  the 
price  of  a  pint.'  To  which  Jack  may 
reply,  '  "Well — you  do  just  chuck  your 
money  about — you  do  ! ' 

Chuck-barge  (Naval).  Cask  in 
which  the  biscuit  of  a  mess  is  kept. 
Also  equivalent  to  bread-basket.  (See 

Chuck-bread  (Beggars').  Waste- 
bread,  that  which  would  be  thrown 
away  but  for  mendicants.  '  No  chuck - 
bread  for  me.' 

Chuck-out  (L.  Theatrical,  1880  on). 
This  verb  has  the  force  of  '  vigorous'. 
1  Can't  he  chuck  it  out  ? '  would  mean 
that  a  singer  or  actor  has  a  powerful 
delivery.  Therefore  the  recommenda- 
tion 'Chuck  it  out'  is  equal  to 
'  Louder — if  you  please '  of  the  public 

Chuckaboo  (Peoples').  A  name 
given  familiarly  to  a  favourite  chum. 
No  meaning ;  but  probably  the  'chuck' 
is  a  conversion  of  '  duck '. 

Chuckaways  (London).  Lucifer 
matches  —  graphic  description  of  the 
act  of  rejection  after  the  match  is  done 
with.  Bill—'  I  want  a  light  —  got 
any  chuckaways?'  (See  Bryant  and 

Chucked  all  of  a  heap  (Street). 
Fascinated,  ravishingly  overcome, 
mashed,  enthralled. 

When  he  gazed  upon  her  soft  and 
gentle  beauty,  and  heard  the  gurgling 
sound  which  smote  his  ear  like  the 
rushing  of  many  waters  he  was  chucked 
all  of  a  heap.— Gutting. 

Chucker  -  in  -  Chief  (Public-house). 
A  prince  amongst  mere  chuckers-out. 

The  magnificent  figure  of  the  gentle- 
man, who  was  late  literary  adviser  to 
Gussy  (Sir  A.  Harris,  of  Drury  Lane 
Theatre)  and  chucker-in-chief ,  is  now  to 
be  seen  nightly  at  the  Princess's,  where 
its  owner  finds  his  services  appre- 

Chucker-out  (Public-house,  1880). 
The  name  given  to  a  barman  who  turns 
out  noisy  tavern  customers.  Chuckers- 


out  are  simple  and  compound.  The 
first  argues  the  case,  he  being  gener- 
ally not  a  giant  of  strength.  The 
'  compound ',  who  gets  his  name  pro- 
bably from  his  size — large  enough  for  a 
'  compound  '  of  men — '  bounces '  with- 
out a  word— which  he  seldom  has. 

Chuckers-out  are  of  two  blooming  sorts 
generally — simple  and  compound.  The 
simple  chucker-out  is  sometimes  a  bit 
barmy  in  the  crumpet,  and  is  only  kept 
for  the  sake  of  show,  and  to  prevent  the 
sweet  tarts  behind  the  bar  hollering  out. 
.  .  .  He's  a  warm  'un,  is  the  compound 
chucker-out.  You  generally  find  him  at 
music-halls  and  about  the  bars  of  pubs, 
which  blokes  use  that  aren't  afraid  of  a 
couple  of  black  peepers. — Gutting. 

Chucking-out  Time  (Lond.  Public- 
house).  Half-past  twelve,  the  closing 
hour  for  metropolitan  taverns,  when 
those  who  do  not  go  willingly  are 
'  chucked  out '. 

Chuffy  (Peoples' ;  rare).  Surly ;  e.g. , 
'  Don't  be  chuffy ' — probably  from  the 
behaviour  of  one  '  Ohuffs ' — who  may 
have  once  been  powerful  in  the  cadger 

Chum  (Universal).  A  familiar 
friend.  This  term  is  probably  the 
only  one  that  has  steadily  remained 
patronised  by  all  classes.  Dr  Johnson, 
who  always  sought  the  unexpected, 
says  this  word  is  c  Armorick '.  He 
adds,  '  a  chamber  fellow ' ;  a  term  used 
in  the  universities. 

'  The  princes  were  quite  chums.' 

'  I  had  a  chum,  etc.' — Fielding,  Tom 
Jones,  book  viii. ,  ch.  2. 

'The  two  actors  were  very,  very  friendly 
indeed.  We  dressed  in  the  same  dressing 
room,  and  were  very  friendly.  In  fact, 
Mr  Crozier  bought  some  colours  from  Mr 
Franks  on  Saturday,  I  believe.'  The 
Coroner :  '  They  were  what  is  called  in 
vulgar  parlance  "chums".'  Witness: 
'  Yes.  I  never  knew  them  to  have  any 
quarrel  or  speak  any  angry  words  to 
each  other.' — Evidence  of  Mr  C.  Lillford 
at  an  inquest  upon  Crozier,  an  actor 
accidentally  killed  at  the  Novelty 
Theatre,  London  (10th  August  1896).— 
D.  T.,  14th  August  1896. 

Chump  (Peoples').  The  head. 
Chump  initially  is  a  fine  onomatope, 
being  the  sound  made  by  horses  in 
grinding  oats.  Hence  the  use  of  the 
word  to  represent  head,  of  which  the 
dentition  is  only  part.  Then  extended 
to  the  human  head.  (See  '  Orf  Chump ', 
C0rf  his  Chump'.) 



Spain  had  her  flirtations,  and  Marie 
Antoinette  was  frivolous  and  fond  of 
pleasure  until  she  lost  her  chump. — 

Take  off  yer  blooming  'at ;  take  off 
yer  blooming  chump  as  well. — Said  in  a 

Chump  (Ang.-Amer.,  1895).  Equi- 
valent to  Juggins.  A  youth  (as  a  rule) 
who  is  in  any  way  cheated  of  his 
money  —  especially  by  the  so-called 
gentler  sex. 

What's  a  chump  ?  '  Say,  pa,  what's  a 
chump  ? '  asked  young  Tommy  as  his 
father  was  taking  him  out  walking. 
'See  that  young  man  in  there?'  (they 
were  just  passing  an  ice  cream  saloon) 
said  the  father,  pointing  in.  '  Yes,  I  see 
him ;  the  one  with  the  girl  in  the  red 
dress  ? '  '  Yes ;  well,  he's  buying  ice 
cream  for  his  girl  with  money  he  ought 
to  save  to  buy  his  lunch  with  till  next 
pay  day.  He's  a  chump.' — Gutting. 

Chumps  Elizas  (London,  Five 
Pounder  Tourists',  1854  on).  A 
grotesque  pronunciation  of  Champs 
Elyses — still  in  Paris. 

Church  a  Jack,  To  (Thieves'}.  To 
remove  the  works  of  a  watch  from  its 
case,  and  put  them  in  another,  of 
course  with  the  view  of  destroying  the 
identity  of  the  article.  (See  Christen 
a  Jack.) 

Church-bell  (Rural).  A  talkative 
woman.  '  Ah  ca'as  ma  wife  choorch 
bell,  cas  'er's  yeard  arl  over  t'  village/ 

Church  parade  (Soc.,  1885  on). 
The  display  of  dress  after  morning 
church.  Quite  the  thing  to  carry 
prayer  books.  Began  in  Hyde  Park  ; 
imitated  now  all  over  the  country. 

Mr  Button  asked,  with  respect  to  some 
wearing  apparel  which  prosecutrix  paid 
£4c  for  on  delivery  for  Mrs  Gardiner, 
whether  she  did  not  part  with  the  money 
to  enable  '  the  countess '  on  the  following 
Sunday  to  accompany  her  to  the  Church 
parade  in  the  Park.  Prosecutrix : 
'Church  parade  was  never  mentioned.' 
— D.  T.,  17th  March  1893. 

Church-piece  (Soc.).  A  threepenny 
piece — the  smallest  silver  the  genteel 
mean  can  put  in  the  absurdly-named 

Churched  (Com.  Lond.).  Married 
—amongst  the  common ;  attendance 
at  prayers  after  childbirth  amongst 
higher-class  women.  The  commonest 
possible  term  amongst  lower  classes  for 
marriage,  and  singularly  expressive  as 
marking  the  distinction  between  ordin- 
ary come-together  marriage,  and  the 
real  ceremony. 

He  did  grand  before  we  was  churched, 
and  used  to  blarney  and  call  me  good- 
looking,  and  squeeze  my  blooming  waist. 
— Cutting. 

Churchyard  Cough  (Peoples').  A 
fatal  cold  —  sometimes  in  these  later 
times  synonymised  by  'cemetery 
catarrh '. 

Churchyard  Luck  (Peoples').  The 
'  good  fortune '  which  the  mother  of  a 
large  family  experiences  by  the  death 
of  one  or  more  of  her  children:  e.g., 
1  Yes,  mum,  I  hev  brought  'em  all  up 
— ten  boys,  and  no  churchyard  luck 
with  it.' — Said  by  a  Liverpool  woman 
to  a  district-visitor. 

Cigareticide  (Soc.,  1883).  A  word 
invented  to  meet  the  theory  that  the 
cigarette  is  the  most  dangerous  form  of 
smoking.  More  common  in  America 
than  in  Great  Britain. 

That  young  man's  grit  is  indeed  re- 
markable in  this  age  of  dudisrn  and 
cigareticide. — Cutting. 

Cinder  (Peoples',  19  cent.).  Hot- 
especially  alcoholic  heat,  e.g.,  'That's 
a  cinder  for  him.' 

He  had  been  a  teetotaller  himself  for 
seven  years,  and  really  left  his  last 
lodgings  because  the  landlady  was  too 
fond  of  putting  'a  cinder  in  her  tea', 
that  is  to  say,  flavouring  her  Mazawattee 
with  a  plentiful  supply  of  rum. — D.  T.. 
12th  May  1896. 

Cinder-knotter  (Navy).  A  stoker 
—  very  descriptive,  and  necessarily 
modern,  phrase  ;  for  he  does  knot  the 
living  coals  into  heaps. 

Cinder-sifter  (Fashion,  1878).  A 
hat  with  open-work  brim,  the  edge  of 
which  was  turned  up  perpendicularly. 
On  all  fours  with  the  poke  bonnet, 
called  'coal-scuttle',  or  the  high 
collars  introduced  by  George  III.,  and 
styled  gills. 

Cinderella  (Society,  1880).  A  dance 
which  ends  at  twelve  —  the  name 
fancifully  suggested,  it  is  not  known 
by  whom,  in  reference  to  that  success- 
ful young  professional  beauty  who,  at 
midnight,  was  by  force  major  com- 
pelled to  give  up  dancing.  Adopted 
in  France— 1880. 

N'ayez  pas  peur,  ma  chere,  ce  n'est 
qu'une  Cendrillon  ;  a  minuit  —  finis  et 

The  hours  at  which  balls  begin  grow 
later  and  later.  The  stroke  which  sends 
the  last  guest  hurrying  away  from  the 
Cinderella  dance  scarcely  ushers  the  first 
arrival  to  a  season  ball. — D.  N.,  27th 
March  1884. 



Clare  Market  Cleavers 

Circlers  (Theatr.).  Occupants  of 
dress  -  circle.  Applied  with  envious 
derision  by  the  pit. 

Circs  (City,  1860).  Abbreviation 
of  '  circumstances '. 

The  Duke  and  Duchess  of  Teck  patron- 
ized the  performance  of  Jolanthe  at  the 
Savoy  Theatre  on  Monday  last.  Under 
the  circs  I  am  disposed  to  exclaim, 
'  What  extravagance  ! ' — Gutting,  August 

The  royal  couple  at  this  date  were 
about  economising  by  leaving  England 
and  going  to  ^umpenheim. 

Circuit  Rider  (Amer.,  provincial). 
A  peripatetic  preacher. 

There  was  no  '  circuit  rider '  or  other 
evangelical  authority  to  be  relied  upon. 
— Cutting. 

Circumbendibus  ( Peoples').  Evasion 
— adopted  probably  from  some  author 
playing  with  Latin  formation — based 
upon  circumlocution.  '  He  allowed 
the  accusation  by  a  circumbendibus.' 

Circus  (Amer.)  Excitement,  ad- 
venture—from the  pother  created  when 
a  wandering  circus  heaves  in  sight. 
A  circus  is  the  most  favourite  form 
of  American  provincial  amusement. 

Lafayette  got  the  check  cashed  and 
spent  the  money,  and  then  Coghill  found 
out  that  he  had  paid  Lafayette  just  three 
times  too  much  for  the  Louisiana  lands. 
Then  there  was  a  circus. — N.  Y.  Mercury, 
23rd  May  1885. 

The  next  day  old  Hays  and  young 
Hays  started  out  in  search  of  Reed's 
companion — Stephens.  The  pair  found 
Stephens  in  his  room.  He  made  a 
desperate  fight,  but  there  was  no  '  circus ' 
this  time,  the  two  Hays  bein'  too  many 
for  the  one  Stephens. — Cutting. 

City  Road  Africans  (Street,  1882). 
— Hetairse  of  that  quarter.  Origin 
not  known. 

City  sherry  (Peoples',  E.  London, 
1880).  Four  ale,  which  in  colour  may 
be  said  to  resemble  the  worst  descrip- 
tion of  sherry  or  the  highest  quality  of 
rectified  varnish.  The  East  London 
people  have  a  modified  mistrust  of 
those  living  amongst  them,  who  get 
their  living  in  the  city,  especially  of 
the  great  body  of  exclusive  clerks, 
whose  general  poverty  they  satirise  in 
many  ways,  of  which  this  is  one. 
'  City  sherry '  used  to  be  the  basis  of 
a  great  perennial  practical  joke  at  the 
'European,'  once  a  prosperous  tavern 
in  the  Poultry  (E.G.),  where  this 
liquid  was  set  out  in  imperial  half 
pints  and  royal  array  on  the  counter 


awaiting  the  'ready'  pennies  of  the 
passing  public.  The  humble  little 
joke  took  its  rise  from  this  opportunity 
of  helping  oneself  to  these  drinks  with- 
out calling  for  a  barman,  and  then 
planking  the  money  down. 

Country  cousins  were  told  that 
tumblers  of  city  sherry  were  given 
away  at  this  particular  house  all  day 
long.  The  victim  was  taken  in,  was 
handed  a  glass  of  fourpenny  from  the 
counter,  while  the  operator  gave  a  well- 
known  wink  to  the  attendant  barman 
who  instantly  comprehended  this  joke. 
When  the  wondering  eye  of  the  coun- 
try cousin  was  off  the  counter  the 
town  relative  paid  for  the  drinks. 

This  'sherry  house/  the  European, 
fell  before  the  improver  at  the  end  of 
1884,  and  the  jocular  '  halves '  ceased 
to  be  drawn  for  ever.  However,  city 
sherry,  in  the  City,  is  still  cloaked 
satire  for  a  pretended  '  free  drink'. 

Clackbox  (Hist. ).  Male  or  mascu- 
line of  chatterbox — generally  applied 
to  a  woman,  and  especially  a  girl. 
This  word  rarely  comes  to  town. 

Claim  (Ang.-Amer.).  To  recognise 
in  travelling.  In  a  railway  carriage 
one  may  frequently  hear  the  enquiry — 
'  Surely  I  claim  you — we  met  at  Suez  ? ' 

Clamp  (N.  Eng.).  A  kick,  from 
the  name  given  to  the  heavy  boots 
clamped  or  tipped  with  iron.  Very 
formidable  weapons. 

Clap-trap  (Theatrical).  Common- 
place. Trap  to  catch  a  clap  from  the 
audience,  as : — 

'  The  man  who  lays  his  hands  upon 
a  woman,  except  in  the  way  of  kind- 
ness, ought  to  be  yard-armed.' 

Clare  Market  Cleavers  (Strand). 
They  were  the  butchers  in  this  once 
densely  populated  place — now  a  sixty 
yard  street.  The  rival  community  was 
Seven  Dials— half  a  mile  away — with 
which  country  there  were  frequent 
wars.  The  glory  of  Clare  Market 
began  to  pitch  in  70,  rocked  in  the 
early  '90's,  and  was  practically  gone 
in  '98.  The  Cleavers  were  great 
fighters,  Princes  in  Clare,  and  heavy 
blackmailers  of  newly-married  couples 
of  that  ilk — who  were  always  obliged 
with  a  concert  of  marrow-bones  and 
cleavers.  These  cleaver  serenades 
had  to  be  paid  for.  'Oh — he's  a 
cleaver  bloke — I  can  tell  you.'  As 
it  has  been  said,  the  glories  of  Clare 
Market  and  her  cleavers  began  to 

Clare  Market  Duclc 


fade  in  70.  Her  commercial  and 
butcherly  bravery,  beginning  in  the 
west  at  Drury  Lane,  and  swinging 
south-east  down  to  Temple  Bar,  with 
a  dash  over  into  Strand  Lane  (see 
Diprose's  St  Clement  Danes),  fell 
before  the  demands  of  the  new  Law 
Courts.  Two-thirds  of  the  parish  were 
swept  away  ;  and  with  the  old  crowded 
houses  the  Clare  Market  customers. 
The  butchers  shared  in  the  fall — but 
they  still  remained  a  combined  power 
in  the  old  slaughter-houses,  until  in 
the  '80's  their  '  cleavin '  propensities 
ended  in  a  steel  fight,  which  finished 
one  of  the  later  cleavers.  Resulting 
precaution,  and  two  School  Board 
schools  slowly  suppressed  the  cleavers , 
who  vanished,  while  the  market  faded 
into  a  mere  street. 

Clare  Market  Duck  (19  cent.}. 
Baked  bullock's  heart  stuffed  with  sage 
and  onions — which  gave  a  faint  resem- 
blance to  the  bird.  The  term  is  one 
of  those  satirical  associations  of  cheap 
food  with  luxurious  dishes,  of  which 
there  are  several  specimens.  (See 
'Billingsgate  Pheasant,'  'Two -Eyed 
Steak,'  etc.) 

Clarkenco  (Polit. ).  A  new  political 
party.  When  the  Gladstone  Government 
went  out  (June,  1885)  and  that  of  Lord 
Salisbury  came  in,  Mr  Ed.  Clarke,  Q.C., 
who  was  expected  to  get  office  was  left 
out  in  the  cold.  He  was  supposed  to 
lead  a  new  party  which  took  the  place 
of  that  led  previously  by  Lord  R. 

'Mr  Edward  Clarke  and  Co.',  as  the 
new  Fourth  Party  is  called  in  the  House, 
will  let  the  Churchill  lot  'have  it'  at 
every  convenient,  and  at  several  incon- 
venient, opportunities — Ref.,  19th  July 

Claw-hammer  (Amer.-Eng.).  Tail- 
coat, accepted  in  England  about  1880. 
Description  of  the  divided  tail,  like  in 
shape  and  lines  to  the  claw  of  a 
hammer.  (See  Bobtail. ) 

Clean  Time  (Amer.).  A  figurative 
expression  for  honesty ;  derived  from 
the  old  phrase,  '  clean  hands '.  '  He 
never  would  do  the  clean  thing. ' 

Clean  tuckered  out  (New  Eng.). 
Utterly  exhausted— probably  from  the 
name  '  Tucker '. 

He  was  clean  tuckered  out  all  but  his 
eyes  (and  he  could  just  barely  turn  them 
in  his  head)  and  his  bill.—  Newsp. 

Cleavin  (Glare  Market).  Boastful 
— from  the  Clare  Market  Cleavers 
(1750-1860)— the  king-butchers  of  that 
once  popular  market  who  were  the 
equal  pride  and  terror  of  that  place, 
— terror  because  of  their  readiness  to 
fight,  pride,  because  of  the  warfare, 
continual  and  unflagging,  they  carried 
on  over  the  border  amongst  the  Pict- 
pockets  and  maurauding  Scots  of  the 
adjacent  Drury  Lane.  They  made 
much  coin  by  marriage  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood, and  far  around  by  their 
rough  marrow -bone  and  cleaver 

Clicker  (Printers').  The  sub-fore- 
man in  printing  office.  Gives  out 
copy  and  conveys  orders  from  foreman 
to  men.  Probably  contemptuous,  and 
from  the  French  —  Claqueur.  The 
clicker  also  puts  the  type  into  pages. 
Most  obscure  phrases  or  words  in  print- 
ing come  from  France. 

Climb  in  on,  To  (U.S.).  To  over- 
come easily,  to  get  the  better  of 
another  by  cunning. 

*  I  climbed  in  on  him  proper.' 
Dr  Hall  says  it  is  very  unhealthy  to 
live  on  the  ground  floor  of    a  house. 
Doctor's  right.     A  fellow's  creditors  can 
climb  in  on  him  with  so  little  trouble. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 
To  lower  pride. 

Climb  the  Golden  Staircase,  To 
(Amer.).  One  of  the  U.S.A.  equiva- 
lents to  the  Latin  'join  the  majority'. 
Edward's  Folly  Dramatic  Company  is 
reported  as  having  climbed  the  golden 
stairs.  The  cash  assets  are  alleged  to  have 
been  carefully  secured  in  a  pill  box.— 

D'Arcy  and  his  company,  with  Josie 
Batchelder  as  star,  climbed  the  golden 
staircase  last  Monday.  They  are  said  to 
have  been  kindly  assisted  on  their  tour 
homeward  by  sympathizing  citizens. — 

Climb  the  Mountain  of  Piety, 
To.  To  pawn  ;  from  the  first  govern- 
mental pawnshop  being  situated  on  a 
height  in  Rome  called  Monte  di  Pieta, 
so  named,  of  course,  from  a  group  of 
the  dead  Christ  and  the  Virgin  called 
in  art  a  Pieta. 

Mr  Candy :  On  one  occasion,  I  think, 
you  had  to  resort  to  what  is  called 
'  climbing  the  mountain  of  piety '  ? — 
Evelyn  v.  Hulbert,  D.  N.t  15th  April 

Clinger  (Sail-room).     A  lady  who 
holds  on  in  waltzing;  e.g.,  'She's  a 
bad  'un  to  go,  but  she's  a  real  clinger.' 


Cock  and  Bull  Story 

Clobber  (Jewish,  E.  London). 
Superior,  or  rather  startling  clothing. 
In  Hebrew  «  KLBR  '. 

'  My  high— look  at  Beck.' 

Clobbered  (N.  Eng.  Prov.).  Well 
nourished  and  dressed.  Common  in 

1  Eh,  he  looks  well  clobbered.' 

Clock  (London).  A  dynamite  bomb, 
when  carried  in  a  small  square  Glad- 
stone bag.  Took  its  rise  in  the  'SO's, 
during  the  dynamite  scare,  when  a 
dynamiter,  being  stopped  by  a  police- 
man and  asked  what  he  had  in  his 
bag,  replied — '  A  clock '. 

Clock  stopped  (London,  Peoples'). 
No  credit.  'No  tick* — hence  the 
clock  has  stopped.  '  No  tick  '  means 
1  no  ticket' — given  by  master  or  other 
to  obtain  credit. 

Cloddy  (Dog  Market).  Aristocratic 
in  appearance.  Applied  to  human 
beings  by  some  divisions  of  the  lower 

"E's  a  cloddy  bloke  —  don't  yer 
make  no  mistake  about  it  ! ' 

A  bull-dog  should  be  low  to  the  ground, 
short  in  the  back,  and  thickset.  An 
animal  that  possesses  these  qualifications 
is  known  as  one  of  the  '  cloddy ',  the 
correct  expression  among  dog-fanciers. 
— D.  T.,  13th  November  1895. 

Close  out,  To  (Amer.,  1883).  To 
finish.  Quite  local  until  recently. 
Now  sometimes  heard  in  England. 

Do  not  close  out  the  last  of  your  soup 
by  taking  the  plate  in  your  mouth  and 
pouring  the  liquid  down. — Cutting. 

Clou  (Theatr.).  From  the  French. 
Equal  to  '  heart '  or  central  idea  of  a 
tale  or  drama.  Of  course,  literally 
'  nail ' — upon  which  the  piece  or  book 

Whatever  may  be  the  decision  arrived 
at,  the  case  will  be  memorable  as  fairly 
placing  before  the  world  entirely  op- 
posite views  as  to  the  degree  of  copy- 
right in  the  central  idea,  or  c  clou ',  as 
it  is  called  in  France,  of  a  drama  or 
romance.—  D.  N.,  4th  August  1883. 

'  The  field  of  the  French  writer  is  almost 
unlimited.  He  writes  for  men  and  mar- 
ried women.  His  first  thought  when 
hammering  out  the  clou  or  mainspring 
of  his  play  is  "  What  shall  I  do  with  my 
adulteress?"'— G.  W.  Gilbert,  D.  N., 
21st  January  1885. 

Clouded  over  (American).  Over- 
whelmed by  misfortune.  (See  Bound 
to  shine.) 

Clove-hunters  (Amer.- Eng.}  Fre- 
quent nip-drinkers,  especially  between 

the  acts  of  a  play,  when  the  nibbled 
clove  vainly  sought  to  hide  the  higher 
perfume  of  the  alcohol.  Came  to  be 
used  (1884)  for  the  refreshment  itself. 

Pleasing  example  of  modern  meta- 

A  belief  prevails  among  Union 
Square  Theatre  patrons  that  the  trick 
chairs  which  adorn  the  auditorium  were 
designed  to  trap  and  hold  in  place  be- 
tween the  acts  clove -hunters. — N.  Y. 
Mercury,  December  1884. 

Coal-oil  Johnny  (Amer.  coal  •  oil 
fields).  The  derivation  of  this  word 
is  interesting.  Many  of  the  unedu- 
cated and  more  wasteful  men  who 
struck  oil  squandered  their  money, 
while  Johnny  in  American  is  the 
equivalent  of  English  Sammy,  Sappy, 
or  Softy — hence  a  coal-oil  Johnny  was 
at  first  a  suddenly  enriched  coal-oil 
miner,  who  wasted  his  easily-gained 
wealth.  The  term  soon  spread,  and 
stood  for  a  description  of  a  stupid, 
extravagant,  vulgar  person. 

He  played  a  '  coal-oil  Johnny '  career ; 
treated  to  champagne  by  the  basket, 
had  the  handsomest  carriage  and  pair  in 
the  city,  and  paid  cabmen  five  dollars  to 
drive  him  a  few  blocks. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Coal  Sack  (People?).  Cul  de  sac- 
one  of  the  most  egregious  Anglicisa- 
tions  in  the  language. 

'  Which  we  bolted  up  a  blind  alley, 
and  found  ourselves  in  a  coal  sack.' 

Coal  up,  To  ( Trade.  Stokers').  To 
feed.  '  Let's  coal  up  on  bread  and 
cheese — nothing  better,  sonny.' 

Cock  (Printers',  1874).  In  throw- 
ing types  to  decide  who  shall  pay 
for  drinks  or  other  matters,  by  the 
number  of  nicks  which  turn  up,  the 
types  used  sometimes  catch  together, 
and  do  not  fall  flat  on  the  imposing 
stone,  the  general  arena  for  these 
adventures.  '  That's  a  cock '  is  said — 
abbreviation  of  '  cock  and  hen '.  The 
question  is  once  more  tried. 

Cock  and  Bull  Story  (Peoples'). 
Every  etymologist  has  had  an  attack 
of  analysis  of  this  phrase,  which  Sterne 
uses  as  his  abrupt  and  unintended 
termination  of  '  The  Sentimental 
Journey'.  No  one  has  solved  this 
difficulty.  Possibly  a  phrase  on  all 
fours  with  '  By  hook  or  by  crook, ' '  A 
miss  is  as  good  as  a  mile,'  etc.,  and 
meaning  '  A.  Cock,  and  D.  Bull,  story' 
— and  may  refer  to  two  witnesses  of 
these  names  in  some  once  notorious 


Cock  and  Hen  Club 


Dr  Brewer  of  course  goes  off  at  score 
upon  this  phrase.  He  says  :  '  A  cor- 
ruption of  "  a  concocted  and  bully  story  ". 
The  catch-pennies  hawked  about  the 
streets  are  still  called  cocks,  i.e.,  con- 
cocted things.  Bully  is  the  Danish 
bullen  (exaggerated),  our  bull-rush  (an 
exaggerated  rush),  bull-frog,  etc.,  etc.' 
All  this  is  confused,  contradictory, 
wanting  in  relation  of  parts.  Probably 
corruption  of  perchance  Cockaigne 
Bill — a  forgotten  teller  of  inconsequent 
tales  —  like  the  more  modern  Mrs 

Sir  Francis  Jeune  said  the  petitioner 
had  shown  a  great  deal  of  carelessness. 
His  wife  told  him  a  cock-and-bull  story 
about  having  been  married  before,  and 
he  took  no  steps  to  verify  it  until  some 
years  afterwards. — Sir  F.  Jeune,  Div. 
Court,  29th  October  1896. 

Cock  and  Hen  Club  (Soc.,  1880). 
One  of  mixed  sexes — then  spoken  of 
contemptuously  probably  because  they 
had  not  at  that  date  quite  succeeded. 

He  takes  advantage  of  his  wife's 
absence  from  home  to  '  make  a  night  of 
it',  and  take  supper  with  a  strange 
young  lady  at  a  club  which,  I  believe, 
would  be  called  of  the  cock-and-hen 
order. — Carados. 

What  are  described  as  working  men's 
clubs  (often  enough  falsely  described 
thus),  very  early  breakfast  clubs,  cock- 
and-hen  clubs,  with  one  or  two  other 
clubs  whose  names  and  descriptions  will 
to  the  initiated  suggest  themselves,  are 
all  flagrant  and  distinct  violations  of  the 
Licensing  Acts.— Ref.,  19th  May  1889. 

Cock  of  the  Walk  (London,  Sporting, 
18  cent.).  Leader — derived  from  cock- 
fighting,  or  from  farmyard,  where 
one  cock  alone  holds  the  central 

Directly  you  get  up  one  or  two  steps 
in  the  ladder,  you  want  to  be  cock  of 
the  walk — Cutting. 

Cock  one's  chest  (Navy}.  To  throw 
the  chest  out,  after  the  manner  of  vain 
creatures.  Generally  used  with  the 
addition — 'like  a  half-pay  Admiral' — 
not  a  full-pay,  mark  you. 

Cockatoo  (Austral.,  1880).  A  small 
farmer.  The  name  is  given  by  the 
squatters  or  sheep  breeders  to  the 
agriculturists,  from  the  cockatoos 
following  the  movements  of  the  farmer 
over  his  land,  especially  at  sowing 
time.  The  word  is  offensively  used, 
for  there  is,  or  perhaps  it  is  better 
to  say  was,  bitter  war  between  the 
settled  farmer  and  the  unsettled 

squatter,  whose  sheep  often  ruinously 
injured  the  unenclosed  agricultural 
stretches,  while  too  frequently,  it  is 
to  be  feared,  the  squatter  made  a  path 
for  his  sheep,  even  where  an  enclosure 
had  been  made.  The  squatter  still 
knows  the  cockatoo  has  the  sympathy 
of  the  legislature,  and  he  c  hates  him 
accordingly '. 

Cocked  Hat,  To  knock  into  a  (18 

cent.).  To  conquer,  tumble  about  in 
all  directions.  Perhaps  no  phrase  is 
more  obscure  than  this.  It  is  probably 
one  of  the  expressions  which  result  out 
of  a  change  in  dress,  especially  where 
the  change  is  associated  with  political 
movement.  The  hat  which  preceded 
the  cocked  was  the  cavalier,  which 
possessed  a  flat  flopping  brim,  above 
which  showed  the  white  feather, 
which  swung  round  and  trailed 
between  the  shoulders.  Hence  arose 
the  Puritan  term  for  cowardice 
— showing  the  white  feather — this 
dancing  adornment  displaying  itself 
very  ineffectively  when  the  cavaliers 
took  to  flight,  which  they  did  upon 
occasion.  The  cocked  hat  might 
figuratively  be  described  as  a  cavalier 
hat,  whose  brim  had  been  knocked 
up  and  in  by  three  spaced  blows 
round  the  circumference.  Now  as  the 
cocked  hat  came  in  with  the  Guelphs 
and  the  Whigs,  it  can  readily  be  under- 
stood that  the  Jacobites  accepted  the 
new  cocked  hat  as  a  head-gear  that 
had  been  assaulted  by  cavaliers — hence 
probably  a  Jacobite  term,  *  I'll  knock 
the  Whig  into  one  of  his  own  cocked 
hats ' — an  idea  so  practical  that  it  was 
accepted  by  the  people.  It  has  lasted 
to  this  day,  when  the  three-cornered 
cocked,  or  up- turned  hat  has  absolutely 
vanished  in  England  except  amongst 
mayors  and  aldermen,  and  by  way  of 
the  black  cap  worn  by  judges  while 
uttering  the  death  sentence.  The 
tricorne  is  still  worn  in  Germany,  and 
even  in  France  and  Italy. 

I  thought  that  was  the  worst  play  I 
had  ever  seen,  but  Nadine  knocked  it 
into  several  cocked-hats. — Newsp.  Cutting, 
8th  March  1885. 

Wilson  Barrett  licka  everything  else 
into  a  cocked  hat. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Cock-linnet  (East  London).  A 
dapper  boy,  a  tiny  buck  from  the 
East  End  of  London,  where  bird  fairs 
are  held  every  Sunday  morning.  It 
is  also  rhyming  slang  for  '  minute '. 
81  F 



1  Hold  on  for  a  cock  linnet — now 
barney.' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Cocks  (Dispensing  chemist).  Con- 

Cock-sure  (Sporting,  1 8  cent. ).  Abso- 
lutely certain.  In  the  good  old  days 
of  cock-fighting  the  vanquishing  bird 
always  crowed — but  never  until  he 
was  quite  sure,  by  various  modes  of 
proof,  that  his  enemy  was  either 
dead  or  insensible.  Then  he  gave 

Used  disparagingly  in  these  later 

In  the  identification  of  prisoners  police 
constables  sometimes  blunder,  and  rarely, 
if  ever,  hesitate.  They  are  very  'cock 
sure'  in  their  evidence. — D.N.,  8th 
December  1884. 

Cocker  up,  To  (Chaunters').  To 
make  a  horse  look  young  for  sale. 
Evidently  from  the  French  '  coquet ' ; 
the  more  likely  that  Chaunter  is  cer- 
tainly from  Chanteur — an  unscrupulous 
and  daring  cheat. 

Cockowax  (Peoples',  18  cent.). 
Obscure  —  used  satirically.  '  Hullo 
my  cock'owax.'  Probably  corruption 
of  cock  of  wax,  which  may  have  been 
said  in  cock-fighting  days  of  a  bird 
which  had  no  mettle  in  him — a  poor 
soft,  waxy,  creature,  opposite  of  cock 
of  the  walk. 

Cock-pit  (Political).  A  convenient 
place  for  settling  a  sanguinary  quarrel. 
From  the  pit  or  enclosure  in  which  the 
cocks  fought,  and  which  would  become 
much  blood-stained — hence  the  name 
was  given  to  that  portion  of  a  warship 
to  which  the  wounded  were  taken  for 

England  cannot  consent  to  make  Egypt 
the  cock-pit  in  which  the  diplomatic 
intrigues  of  Europe  are  to  find  a  new 
arena.— D.  N.,  21st  January  1885. 

Cocoa  (Nautical).  Comic  shape  of 
Toko — (sec).  Schoolboy  expression, 
probably  from  Negronia.  When  a 
word  has  become  time-weary,  it  is 
often  newly  editioned  by  being  ex- 
changed for  a  well-known  word  which 
rhymes  with  it. 

Charlie  Wyndham  and  W.  H.  Vernon 
must  mind  their  eye,  or  Onesimus  will 
give  'em  'cocoa'  before  long. — Newsp. 

Cocotte ;  Cocodette(Franco-English 
1860-70).  Non-virtuous  French,  or 
other  young  woman  of  large  income. 
The  second  is  to  the  first  as  a  first 
officer  is  to  the  captain. 

In  the  circle  of  cocottes,  and  cocodettes, 
by  which  the  French  Court  has  during 
the  last  fifteen  years  managed  to  sur- 
round itself,  fast  American  women  have 
furnished  no  inconsiderable  contribution. 

Cod  (Printers').  A  fool;  e.g.,  'the 
fellow's  a  cod.' 

Cod  (Peoples').  Humbug,  swindle, 
more  generally  coddem,  cod  em,  cod 

Cod,  To  (Thieves',  18  cent.).  To  cod 
is  to  cheat  meanly  by  way  of  familiarity 
in  relation  to  eccentric  erotics.  To 
comprehend  this  term  an  intimate 
acquaintance  with  Balzac's  Vautrin  is 

Cod,  To  ( Theatr. ).  To  flatter ;  e.g., 
'  Don't  try  to  cod  me ' — from  Coddem 
— a  game  of  deception. 

Cod  (Trade.  Tailors').  A  drunkard. 
The  word  is  suggested  by  the  fallen 
cheeks  and  lips'  corners  which  are  some 
of  the  facial  evidences  of  a  drunkard, 
and  which  certainly  suggest  the 
countenance  of  a  cod,  which  fish, 
furthermore  from  its  size,  is  typical 
of  huge  drinking.  '  He's  a  bigger  cod 
every  day.' 

Cod,  Coddem  (Mid.  Class).  To 
ridicule  by  appealing  to  the  sanity  of 
one  codded. 

'  Cod  '  is  peculiar  as  a  word  signifying 
ironical  chaff,  and  perhaps  it  has  not 
much  to  recommend  itself  beyond  its 
brevity.— Stage,  21st  August  1885. 

I  don't  know  all  the  perfessionals. 
Irving  don't  play  coddem  in  our  tap- 
room.— Cutting. 

I  hear  that  at  the  end  of  Adelphi 
Terrace  there  is  a  theatrical  club  where 
coddem  is  now  the  favourite  pastime. 

Shoreditch  isn't  what  it  was ;  but 
there's  some  fun  in  the  old  village  still. 
You  can  show  off  your  Sunday  togs  in  the 
Aquarium.  You  can  play  coddem. — 

Cod-bangers  (Great  Grimsby  and 
Billingsgate).  Gorgeously  arrayed 
sailors.  Good  example  of  an  obscure 
phrase  or  word  having  a  solid  founda- 
tion. The  cod  are  brought  in  alive 
from  the  North  Sea  to  Great  Grimsby, 
and  are  knocked  or  banged  on  the 
head  as  wanted  for  market.  The 
fishermen  in  this  trade  make,  and 
waste,  considerable  money.  They 
keep  to  the  blue  worsted  jersey,  but 
it  is  complicated  with  rich  silk  squares 
hauled  round  the  neck,  and  by  fre- 
quent rings.  This  gorgeousness  has 



Cold  Coffee 

begotten  the  half-contemptuous,  half- 
envious  name.  It  has  spread  to 
Billingsgate  and  beyond  the  cod-trade. 
'Whoa  —  yere  comes  a  cod-banger.' 
The  word  may  also  have  another 
meaning,  easily  sought  and  found. 

Coddem  (L.  Class).  A  tavern  game — 
for  from  two  to  say  ten,  and  the  equi- 
valent of  the  American  bluff  or  brag. 
All  the  shapes  of  this  word  come  from 
Coddem,  which  is  played  by  the 
operators  dividing  into  two  sets — each 
set  seated  opposite  the  other— a  table 
between  them.  One  side  have  a  bean,  or 
other  small  object— the  hands  belong- 
ing to  this  side  are  lowered  under  the 
table,  the  bean  is  placed  in  one  of  the 
hands,  and  all  the  fists  are  brought  up 
in  a  row  on  the  table.  The  other  side 
now  have  to  guess  where  the  bean  is. 
He  must  not  touch  the  fists,  but  he 
points  to  one,  and  says  either  '  tip  it ' 
or  '  take  it  away '.  If  he  says  '  tip  it ', 
the  hand  pointed  at  is  opened,  and  if  it 
is  empty,  the  other  side  has  lost  one, 
and  the  holders  of  the  bean  score  one. 
Then  they  begin  again,  and  again 
bring  up  their  fists.  Now  as  to  the 
other  term  '  take  it  away '  ;  upon  this 
direction,  the  owner  of  the  hand 
pointed  at  takes  it  off  the  table — if  it 
is  empty.  On  the  contrary  shows 
the  bean  if  it  is  in  his  hand— then 
the  other  side  loses  another  point. 
This  hand  being  lowered,  the  guesser 
begins  again  with  the  remaining  hands, 
until  he  either  guesses  right,  or  again 
loses  a  point — all  of  which  may  appear 
to  the  reader  very  simple.  On  the 
contrary,  it  is  one  of  the  most  psycho- 
logical games  ever  invented.  It  calls 
for  immense  intelligence,  and  there  is 
not  probably  a  village  in  England 
without  its  champion  codder — a  man 
who  invariably  wins  at  this  game. 
When  a  guess  is  right,  the  bean  passes 
to  .the  other  side  that  has  guessed 
rightly.  Money  is  won  or  lost  at 
this  game — but  the  process  is  too  com- 
plicated for  clear  explanation. 

Codger  (Peoples').  Roystering, 
ageing,  boon  companion.  The 
earlier  dictionaries  will  have  nothing 
to  say  to  this  word,  which  does  not 
appear  to  have  come  from  the  Persian 
or  other  equally  next-door  language. 
A  modern  dictionary  describes  him  as 
a  stingy,  clownish  fellow,  whereas  he 
is  rarely  stingy,  and  never  clownish. 
There  was,  until  perhaps  1880,  a 

Codger's  Hall  for  political  discussion 
and  drinks,  under  the  shadow  of 
S.  Bride's,  Blackfriars.  Word  pro- 
bably invented  itself,  in  the  gutter,  or 
near  about.  Byron  first  gave  it  house- 
room  in  an  occasional  address  to 
'Thomas  Moore',  'Oh  you  who  are 
all,  etc.5  Learned  etymologists  assume 
this  wrord  to  come  from  cogito,  but  do 
not  suggest  the  itinerary.  Nor  indeed 
do  codgers  ever  think.  They  have  no 
time  for  cogitation. 

Codocity  (Printers',  1874).  Stupidity 
— capacity  for  being  codded. 

Coffee- and -B.  (Night  Tavern, 
1880).  Coffee  and  brandy. 

On  being  served  the  barmaid  asked 
him  to  treat  her.  He  inquired  what  she 
would  have,  and  she  said  coffee  and  'b .' 
He  asked  what  she  meant  by  '  b ',  and 
she  said  brandy,  or  as  they  called  it 
'  coffee  and  cold  water'. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Coffee-sisters  (Germany,  19  cent.). 
Malignant  gossipers.  From  the 
women  drinking  in  coffee  and  scandal 
at  the  same  eager  moment.  Much 
after  the  use  of  the  word  tea-talker  in 
England.  •  What  is  she  —  a  mere 
coffee-sister. ' 

A  well-known  society  lady  in  Germany 
is  credited  with  the  statement  that  coffee 
not  only  keeps  those  who  indulge  in  it 
wakeful  and  gay,  but  is  likewise  endowed 
with  the  mysterious  '  virtue  '  of  bringing 
to  light  all  the  vices  of  a  not  too-populous 
city.  And  it  is  well  understood  that 
herein  lies  the  attraction  it  has  for  the 
critical  sisterhood  of  mature  German 
ladies  known  as  '  coffee-sisters  ',  or,  as  we 
should  say,  gossips.— -#.  T.,  26th  Septem- 
ber 1895. 

Coigne  (Printers').  A  clever  trade 
term  for  money.  A  play  upon  coin 
and  coigne,  or  coin,  or  quoin,  a  wedge, 
generally  named  thus  in  printing 
offices.  Pun  suggested  by  the  force  of 
coin  as  a  wedge,  and  a  wedge  as  a 

Gascoigne,  I  am  willing  to  believe,  has 
little  '  gas '  about  him,  and  not  more 
coigne  than  he  knows  what  to  do  with. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Coker-nuts  (Low  London).  Well- 
developed  feminine  breasts.  (See  Prize 

Cold  (London  Tavern).  The  anti- 
thesis of  '  warm  with '  and  '  hot  with  ' 
(sugar).  Cold  is  short  for  cold  water. 
Hence,  the  usual  order  in  times  of 
heat  is  '  Three  of  cold  '—say  gin. 

Cold  Coffee  (Artisans'  Secret,  1874). 
Beer.  In  some  offices,  especially  in 

Cold  Cook 

Cold  Snap 

some  printing  houses,  beer  is  only 
allowed  at  certain  hours,  while  coffee 
is  admissible  at  all  times.  Coffee- 
house mugs  are  therefore  kept,  and  the 
errand  boys  go  for  *  cold  coffee '.  The 
coffee-hoiise  keeper  has  the  beer  ready, 
and  to  such  an  extent  was  the  effort  at 
deception  carried  that  in  some  cases 
milk  was  mixed  with  the  beer  to  com- 
plete the  deception  —  many  young 
printers  being  very  moderate  drinkers. 
Cold  Cook  (London).  An  under- 
taker— for  dead  humanity  being  by  the 
lower  classes  called  '  dead  meat',  clearly 
the  undertaker  who  looks  after  the 
dead  is  a  cold  cook. 

Cold -creams  (Military}.  Lines- 
man's name  for  the  '  Coldstreams ',  to 
designate  their  assumption  of  superior 
manners  and  distinction.  *  Look  out, 
mate — yere  comes  a  cold  cream.'  (See 
Porridge  Pots,  Grinning  Dears,  Muck, 

Cold  Day  (U.S.).  Bad  luck— good 
instance  of  climatic  influence  in  pro- 
ducing phrases. 

« It's  a  cold  day  when  I  get  left  any- 
where that  I  can't  find  my  way  back. 
Well,  good-bye,  old  potatoes.'— Newsp. 

This  essentially  American  phrase 
(now  common  in  England)  intimates 
that  he  is  very  clever,  adroit,  and  rarely 
bested.  A  cold  day  in  America  is 
indeed  cold,  the  phrase  therefore 
means — only  a  very  dreadful  state  of 
weather  would  result  in  his  discom- 

'  It's  a  cold  day  when  the  trotting- 
horse  reporter  gets  left,'  said  the  law 
reporter  to  the  managing  editor. — Newsp. 

Cold  Deck  of  Cards  (Calif ornian, 
1849-80).  Cards  marked  for  the  pur- 
pose of  cheating. 

During  the  early  days  of  California,  a 
witness  giving  evidence  in  court  referred 
to  the  operation  technically  known  as 
<  ringing  in  a  cold  deck '  at  poker.  For 
the  information  of  the  judge,  the  witness 
explained  that,  at  the  game  of  poker,  it 
was  not  uncommon  to  introduce  a  pack, 
or  as  the  American  phrase  goes,  '  deck  ' 
of  cards,  which  was  said  by  professional 
cardsharpers  to  be  'cold'  when  duly 
marked  and  arranged  for  the  purpose  of 
fraud.  The  judge  asked  if  any  person  was 
present  who  could  give  an  explanation  of 
the  modus  operandi.  To  his  amazement 
the  audience  rose  like  one  man.— Newsp. 

He  denied  the  alleged  'cold  deck' 
business  in  toto,  and  made  some  vigorous 
remarks  about  the  moral  weakness  of  a 
man  who  puts  up  all  he  can  raise  on  four 
aces,  with  a  view  to  scooping  in  the 
parties  of  the  other  part,  and  then  turns 
round  and  'squeals'  when  another  fel- 
low takes  the  pot  with  a  straight  flush. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Cold  Four  (Public-house).  One  of 
the  more  opprobrious  terms  for  the 
cheapest  description  of  beer.  The 
cold  does  not  refer  to  the  low  tem- 
perature of  four-ale,  or  four  'arf-an- 
'arf,  but  to  its  fatal  want  of  warmthful 

Cold  Meat  (L.  London).  Dead 

The  wicked  Scorcher  says  a  dead  wife 
is  the  best  bit  of  cold  meat  in  the  house. 
— Cutting. 

Cold  Shake  (of  the  hand)  (Amer.). 
A  new  form  of  cold  shoulder,  or  dis- 
missal. '  Leave  you,'  he  cried — '  do 
you  give  me  the  cold  shake  ? '  *  No, 
no,'  she  said,  '  only  for  a  minute.'  He 
watched — it  was  her  false  back  hair. 
She  fixed  it  and  returned  radiant. 

Matsada  S.  Ingomar,  a  Japanese 
athlete,  who  had  married  a  rich 
Quakeress — one  Miss  Lodge  of  Philadel- 
phia— for  a  month  or  so  forsook  the  arena, 
and  gave  his  former  companions  the 
'  cold  shake '. 

Cold  Shoulder  (English,  coming  from 
the  Italian  of  Dante's  time).  To  turn 
the  shoulder  upon  an  applicant.  It 
is  interesting,  as  illustrating  how  per- 
sonal wit  will  deflect  a  meaning,  or  add 
to  it,  that  Douglas  Jerrold  totally 
changed  the  aspect  of  this  phrase.  He 
made  it  refer  to  cold  shoulder  of  mut- 
ton, and  'cold  shoulder'  became 
synonymous  with  inhospitality,  as  it 
remains  to  this  day.  The  climax  was 
reached  by  the  comicality  (attributed 
also  to  Douglas  Jerrold)  of  Paterfamilias 
(at  dinner  table).  *  For  what  we 
are  about  to  receive  may  we  be  truly 
thankful — cold  shoulder  again  ! ' 

Shakespeare  used  the  phrase  as  turn- 
ing the  human  shoulder  from  a  sup- 

If  you  are  too  clever,  people  are  sure 
to  find  you  out,  and  call  you  red-hot 
treats,  and  will  give  you  the  shoulder  of 
mutton  for  ever. — Cutting. 

Cold  Snap  (Amer.  -Eng. ).  The  first 
premonitory  frost — figuratively  a  quick, 
markedly  cool  reception. 


Cold  Tub 


When  the  first  'cold  snap',  as  the 
Americans  call  it,  arrives,  then  many  of 
us  must  wish  to  be  hibernating  animals. 
— D.  N.,  20th  November  1884. 

Young  Blunt  had  his  overcoat  in  pawn 
during  the  cold  snap  and  wanted  to  get 
it  out,  so  he  called  on  Mr  Moses  to  see 
about  it. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Cold  Tub  (Soc.,  19  cent.}.  A  cold 
morning  bath.  Good  example  of 
homely  metaphor.  Here  the  water 
gets  dubbed  by  its  containant. 

The  speech  of  the  Chancellor  of  the 
Exchequer,  so  far  from  encouraging 
illusions  in  the  mind  of  clever  youth,  was 
as  bracing  as  cold  tub. — D.  T.,  llth 
November  1899. 

Colder'n  a  wedge  ( Western  Amer. ). 
Dead — colder  than  a  wedge,  the  iron 
quoin  used  for  splitting  timber,  and 
which  in  American  winters  is  cold 
enough  to  take  the  skin  off  upon 

Colinderies  (Soc.,  1886).  The 
Colonial  and  Indian  Exhibition,  South 
Kensington.  The  last  of  the  droll 
names  given  to  the  series  of  four  in- 
dustrial exhibitions  at  South  Kensing- 
ton (1883-86). 

The  Colinderies  was  patronized  by  no 
fewer  than  81,516  people,  making  a  total 
since  the  opening  of  2,240,536.— Ref., 
8th  August  1886. 

Even  the  authorities  accepted  this 
droll  titling,  which  began  with 
Fisheries,  followed  by  Healtheries, 
continued  with  Inventories,  and  ended 
with  Colinderies.  Even  the  attend- 
ants bore  upon  their  caps  the  legend 
'  Colindia '. 

The  epilogue  was  called  '  Colindia ', 
and  was  a  very  pleasant  entertainment. 
It  was  a  sort  of  ten  minutes'  pantomime. 
—Rcf.,  8th  August  1886. 

At  a  Royal  Commission  of  Inquiry  into 
the  Metropolitan  Board  of  Works  (7th 
August  1888)  Mr  Emil  Loibl,  a'witness, 
added  the  last  invention  in  '  lies' . 

A  song  mentioned  was  Ten  to  One  on 
the  Lodger,  and  the  songs  were  said  to 
have  put  to  the  blush  two  Chinese 
mandarins.  Witness  replied:  That  was 
another  trick  of  the  briberies. — Public 
Press,  8th  August  1888. 

Collah  Carriage  (Street  Negro  Min- 
strels). A  railway  carriage  filled  with 
women  —  Collah  being  Yiddish  for 
young  girls.  'Git  into  a  collah  car- 
riage. '  Said  while  waiting  on  a  railway 
platform  by  one  negro  minstrel  to 
another,  both  with  their  musical  instru- 
ments of  torture,  their  banjos,  ready. 

Until  stopped  by  the  police,  these 
tiresome  persons  found  it  pay  to  take 
shilling  third-class  return  tickets  some 
way  down  a  line,  and  change  their 
carriage  at  every  station — making  a 
collection  before  every  change.  The 
victims  fixed,  and  many  of  them 
nervous,  it  was  a  poor  collection  that  did 
notproducethreepence.  Granted  twenty 
stations  there  and  back,  five  shillings 
was  the  result — a  profit  of  three  shil- 
lings—while they  had  their  ride  to 
some  fair  or  festive  occasion  and  back 
for  nothing.  Probably  derived  from 
Hebrew  negro  minstrels  in  the  first 
place  —  practically  all  Jews  singing 
from  birth,  while  most  acquire  some 
aptitude  on  some  musical  instrument. 

Collar  (London).  In  work.  Said 
of  a  horse  when  he  gets  into  swing,  or 
perhaps  when  he  begins  to  get  wet  with 
work.  Applied  to  human  beings  when 
in  work,  and  therefore  making  money. 

'Joe's  in  collar.' 

College  (Poor  Peoples'}.  The  work- 
house. Term  by  no  means  satirical, 
and  used  to  avoid  the  true  expression. 

'  The  old  gent  is  gorne  inter  the  col- 
lege at  last.' 

'  Mother  ain't  'ome  now — she's  at  the 
college.'  (See  '  Lump',  'In  there'.) 

Colleggers  (Oxford  '  er').  Aca- 
demical collections. 

A  ceremony  at  which  the  whole  host 
of  Dons,  sitting  in  solemn  boredom, 
frankly  say  what  they  think  of  you — are 
'  colleggers. '— D.  T.,  14th  August  1899. 

Collie  shangles  (Soc.,  1884).  Quar- 
rels. Brought  in  by  Queen  Victoria, 
in  More  Leaves  (1884). 

'At  five  minutes  to  eleven  rode  off 
with  Beatrice,  good  Sharp  going  with 
us,  and  having  occasional  collie  shangles 
(a  Scotch  word  for  quarrels  or  rows,  but 
taken  from  fights  between  dogs)  with 
collies  when  we  came  near  cottages.' 

Colloquials  (Soc. ,  1890  on).  Familiar 
conversation — good  example  of  adjec- 
tive passing  into  abstract  noun. 

Well — well — let  us  give  up  the  higher 
culture  now  the  teapot's  here,  and  have 
some  colloquials. 

Colour  (Amer.  Soc.,  1860  on).  Ap- 
plied to  negroes  in  American  as  more 
delicate  than  black  or  even  negro. 
This  euphemism  commenced  with  the 
popularity  of  '  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin '. 

Why  there  should  be  an  objection  to 
the  word  '  negro '  is  strange.  It  defines 


Colour  Sail 

Come  off,  To 

a  person  of  a  certain  African  origin  and 
complexion,  and  it  is  gratifying  to  know 
that  sensible  black  men  are  beginning  to 
see  it,  and  despise  the  studied  over- 
politeness  of  some  white  people  who  talk 
and  write  of  '  color '  without  knowing 
what  it  really  means. — N.  Y.  Mercury. 

'  Color '  at  a  Discount.  —  Attorney- 
General  Brewster  has  bounced  all  the 
Africans  in  the  Department  of  Justice. 
He  found  that  the  '  color '  of  money  was 
a  little  too  much  for  the  '  man  and 
brother.'—^.  Y.  Mercury,  1883. 

Colour  Ball  (Amer.-JSng.,  1880  on). 
In  England  a  vulgar  black  Sal  and 
Dusty  Bob  kick-up.  In  U.  S.  A.  a  negro 
or  '  dignity '  dance. 

Colour  the  meerschaum,  To. 
Drinking  to  the  extent  of  reddening 
the  nose.  '  Aint  'e  colourin'  'is  meer- 
schaum ? '  The  phrase  arises  from  an 
association  of  ideas — those  in  the  first 
place  of  darkening  the  colour  of  a  meer- 
schaum pipe  by  steady  smoking,  and 
in  the  second,  intensifying  the  hue  of 
the  nose  by  steady  drinking.  The 
colour  harmony  between  the  pipe  and 
the  nose  above  it  is  very  droll,  the 
hintful  phrase  itself  a  singularly  good 
example  of  the  keenness  of  the  com- 
mon people  masking  itself  in  a  mock 
politeness  which  is  worse  than  the 
plain  truth. 

Coloured  grave  (Amer.  Puritanism, 
1882).  That  of  a  negro  —  striking 
instance  of  class  prejudice  creating 
phrases  of  its  own. 

Presently  the  undertaker  came  up, 
and  I  asked  him.  He  said  he  didn't 
know  ;  that  he  had  told  them  to  dig  a 
coloured  grave. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Colt  (Anglo- Amer.}.  A  revolver. 
Good  example  of  the  name  of  the 
manufacturer  being  given  to  the  manu- 
facture. Colonel  Colt  was  the  in- 
ventor of  the  commercial  as  distinct 
from  the  historical  revolver.  '  I  put 
down  five  pounds  for  my  '  colt.'  '  This 
is  the  colt  that  is  bound  to  win.' 
Supplanted  by  one  *  Derringer',  a 
small  pocket  revolver,  sometimes  called 
a  '  saloon '  from  its  possible  conveyance 
by  way  of  the  waistcoat  pocket  into 
polite  society. 

Colt  Party  (Anglo- Amer.}.  A  soiree 
of  all  young  people— no  elders.  Much 
more  in  vogue  in  United  States  than  in 

'  I'll  never  give  another  all  young 
party  again,'  said  her  grace — 'it  was 

too,  too  stupid.'  'Dear  duchess,'  re- 
plied Lord  Claud,  '  the  colt  party  is 
impossible.  The  charm  of  maturity, 
to  say  nothing  of  age,  dares  every- 

Com  (Business).  A  commercial 

I  loved  the  good  old  '  com.'  I  have 
spent  many  a  pleasant  evening  in  com- 
mercial rooms  with  the  shrewd  men  of 
the  world  who  used  to  be  bagmen,  and 
who  had  strange  tales  of  the  road  to  tell. 
— G.  R.  Sims,^/.,  28th  December  1884. 

Comb  and  Brush  (Rhyming].  Lush. 
At  one  time  this  word  signified 
'  drink  ',  and  drink  only.  '  Won't  yer 
lush  us  ? '  meant  Will  you  not  pay  for 
some  drink  for  us  ?  Now  the  word 
has  been  extended  in  its  meaning, 
and  includes  all  shapes  of  liberality. 
'  Jack  lushed  us  all  three  to  the  Surrey 

Comb -cut  (Sporting}.  Trimmed, 
manipulated ;  applied  to  a  man  who 
has  been  completely  vanquished. 
From  the  comb  of  fighting  cocks  being 
removed  to  prevent  the  opponent 
from  seizing  it ;  may  be  suggested  by 
the  vanquished  bird  having  had  his 
comb  torn  across  by  the  victor. 

Come  and  have  one  (Peoples',  1880). 
Drink  is  understood.  A  jocular  appli- 
cation of  the  phrase  '  One  of  those'. 

Come  and  have  a  pickle  (Soc., 
1878).  An  invitation  to  a  quick  un- 
ceremonious meal. 

Come  and  wash  your  neck  (Navy, 
1860).  Take  a  drink — from  the  liquor 
flushing  the  throat. 

Come-day,  go-day  (Military).  An 
extravagance,  e.g. ,  '  It's  come  -  day, 
go  -  day  with  him ' — meaning  that 
he  receives  on  '  come '-day  money  or 
pay  that  is  spent  or  goes  the  same  day. 

Come-down  (Common  Life).  Dis- 
aster, ruin,  degradation,  humiliation, 
e.g.,  'What,  no  bonnet!  What  a 
come-down  ;  an'  I  knoo  'er  mum  when 
she  'ad  six  of  everything.' 

Come  down  (Theat.).  The  act  of 
moving  towards  the  audience  from  up 
the  stage. 

Come  off,  To  (Amer.-Eng.,  1892). 
To  cease,  refrain,  desist,  etc.  Very 
graphic — probably  from  the  American 
call  to  fighting  dogs,  or  men. 

'  How  much  does  yez  ax  for  this  book  ? ' 
(Six  dollars,'  replied  the  smiling  clerk. 


Come  in,  To 

Coming  Bye-and-bye 

'Six  dollars!    Oh,   come  off  ! '— N.   Y. 
Mercury,  February  1892. 

Come  in,  To  (Society,  1880).  To 
become  fashionable;  e.g.,  'You  mark 
my  words,  the  horrid  old  Victorian 
furniture,  especially  from  1840  to  1851, 
will  come  in.  Already  spindley  Chip- 
pendale is  a  pill.'— (1883.) 

Come  on  (Theat.).  No  invitation 
to  fight,  but  a  direction  to  appear  upon 
or  '  come  on ',  the  stage.  (See  '  Go  off' 
and  '  Go  up '. ) 

Come  over  on  a  Welk  (or  Wilk) 
Stall  (Coster  satire).  Kg.,  'Where 
did  yer  dad  come  from  ?  Come  over 
on  a  whilk-stall  ? '  This  may  be  a 
folk-satire  upon  *  Coming  over  with  the 
Conqueror,'  or  the  'whelk'  may  have 
that  broad  reference  which  was  appli- 
cable to  '  He's  got  'em  on '  —  when 
first  this  satirically  eulogistic  phrase 
came  out. 

Come  out,  To  (Soc.,  19  cent.).  To 
appear  in  society — applied  to  young 
women  in  society.  The  crown  which 
finishes  the  work  of  coming  out  is  pre- 
sentation at  Court. 

Mr  Francis  Knowles  called,  and  ex- 
amined by  Mr  Clarke,  said :  I  have  known 
Lady  Durham  ever  since  she  '  came  out '. 

General  Reilly,  examined  by  Mr  Clarke, 
said :  I  have  known  Lady  Durham  ever 
since  she  came  out  in  society. — Evidence 
in  Lord  Durham's  Nullity  Suit,  March 

Come  the  old  soldier  over,  To 
(Peoples').  Cajolery,  pretended  po- 
verty, specious  lying  statement. 
'  Don't  come  the  old  soldier  over  me ' 
— from  fraudulent  uniformed  beggars 
after  Waterloo. 

A  great  amount  of  imposture  was 
practised  by  means  of  the  '  old  soldier ' 
dodge  upon  the  Duke  of  Wellington 
during  the  latter  part  of  his  life.  To 
'  come  the  old  soldier  '  is  in  some  quarters 
still  a  familiar  expression  signifying 
the  practice  of  an  artful  trick,  and  the 
'old  soldiers'  after  Waterloo  were  so 
numerous  and  so  pestered  the  Duke  of 
Wellington  that  he  was  fain  to  hand 
over  all  applications  for  alms  to  the  Old 
Mendicity  Society.—  I).  N.,  3rd  March 

Come  to  grief,  To  (Sporting,  1880). 
A  riding  man's  term  for  a  smash  or 
spill ;  gradually  accepted  on  all  sides 
to  depict  failure. 

'  He  tried  Hamlet,  but  to  the  sur- 
prise of  his  family,  though  not  of  his 
friends,  he  came  to  distinct  grief.' 


Come  to  stay  (Amer.-Eng.}.  Come 
to  remain. 

What  he  had  to  say  about  the  origin 
and  development  of  that  remarkable 
institution,  which,  as  the  Americans 
put  it,  'has  come  to  stay',  was  very 
interesting.—  D.  T.,  20th  May  1899. 

Come  up  with  (Amer.-Eng.).  To 
be  on  equality  ;  e.g.,  '  I  came  up  with 
him  instanter  and  he  took  a  back 

Come  up  to  the  rack,  or  jump  the 
fence  (Amer.).  To  decide  to  do  a 
thing  or  take  departure.  Rack  is 
short  for  '  racket ',  this  word  represent- 
ing noise.  Racket  gives  a  capital  idea 
of  the  bustle  of  American  life,  while 
'jump  the  fence'  is  singularly  sug- 
gestive of  new  settlements,  and  enclosed 

'Well,  I  want  to  bring  this  young 
man  to  time.  Fact  is,  he's  either  got 
to  come  up  to  the  rack — or  jump  the 
fence.'— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Comfy  (Soc.,  1880  on).  An  endear- 
ing diminutive  of  comfortable.  Pro- 
bable origin— a  royal  nursery. 

Felice  is  lonely,  homesick.  These  dear 
girls  are  very  nice  and  kind ;  but  the 
simple  tastes  and  simple  conversation  of 
the  truly  rural  is  apt  to  pall  on  your 
llase  old  Diogenes.  She  feels  as  if  half 
only  of  her  were  here,  and  the  sensa- 
tion is  not  'comfy'.— D.  N.,  4th  July 
1895  (Craigie  v.  Craigie). 

Comic-song  faker  (Music  Hall, 
1880).  Music-hall  way  [of  describing 
music-hall  song- writers. 

Mr  Joseph  Tarbar  tells  me  he  is  the 
boss  author  of  this  or  any  other  country 
— as  far  as  comic  song-faking  is  concerned. 
— Cutting. 

Coming  bye-and-bye  (Amer.-Eng., 
1876  on.)  Eternity.  The  evangelical 
nature  of  the  ballads,  and  other 
musical  compositions  for  the  voice, 
became  very  marked  after  1870,  and  even 
preachers  thought  it  elegant  to  refer 
to  the  second  personage  of  the  Trinity 
as  'our  mutual  friend  J.C.'— evidently 
without  any  thought  of  offence ;  indeed 
with  true  sincerity.  A  ballad  entitled 
'In  the  coming  bye-and-bye',  very 
namby-pamby,  and  referring  of  course 
to  the  after  life  brought  (about  1880), 
this  style  of  composition  into  sudden 
contempt — more  especially  when  Mr 
W.  S.  Gilbert  imported  it  into  a  ballad 
for  the  Lady  Jane  (Patience),  wherein, 
lamenting  the  lapse  of  her  charms,  she 

Commandeer,  To 


fears  that  in  the  coming  bye-and-bye 
— meaning  a  few  years — her  charms 
will  be  gone. 

It  seems  to  me  that  there  will  be 
plenty  of  calls  on  that  '  Actors'  Bene- 
volent Fund'  in  the  coming  by-and-by. 

Commandeer,  To  (Transvaal  War, 
1899).  Required— in  Dutch;  but  in 
England  held  to  be  robbery.  To  com- 
mandeer was  to  press  unwilling  men 
into  the  Dutch  army,  or  '  take '  what- 
erer  the  Dutch  came  across,  and  with 
no  concurrent  effort  to  pay  for  the 
property  annexed. 

Some  of  the  recruits  from  the  inland 
districts  were  wild  and  uncouth  beings, 
arrayed  in  rags  and  patches,  and  without 
boots  or  shoes.  With  these  attractions 
were  combined  the  external  polish  of 
uncombed  bushy  hair  and  beard,  and 
skins  rarely  washed.  Mausers  and 
ammunition  were  all  they  possessed  in 
many  cases.  One  of  them  commandeered 
— otherwise  stole — a  native's  horse, 
borrowing  a  saddle  from  one  Britisher 
and  stirrup  leathers  from  another. — 
D.  T. ,  24th  October  1899. 

Mr  Labouchere  suggested  that  Sir 
Michael  Hicks- Beach  should  make  a 
commando  among  the  melodramatic 
millionaires  of  Park  Lane. — D.  T., 
24th  October  1899. 

The  'last  cry'  of  this  term,  and 
practically  closing  it  and  the  war,  was 
in  the  D.  T.  for  2nd  March  1900— the 
day  of  the  relief  of  Ladysmith. 

Scores  of  them  had  commandeered  the 
contents  bills  of  the  morning  and  even- 
ing papers  announcing  the  'Relief  of 
Ladysmith ',  and,  sticking  them  on  their 
chests,  they  marched  on,  blowing  trum- 
pets and  waving  flags. 

President  Kruger,  before  leaving  the 
capital,  commandeered  a  quantity  of 
gold.— D.  T.,  7th  June  1890. 

Commander  of  the  Swiss  Fleet 

(Polit.,  19  cent.).  An  impossible  title ; 
satirical  attack  upon  titles  and  posi- 
tions which  exist  only  for  the  money 
they  produce.  This  is  the  best  of 
them,  Switzerland  being  not  only  in 
the  centre  of  Europe,  but  generally 
two  miles  above  the  sea-level. 

It  sounds  quaint  enough  to  talk  of  an 
Admiral  '  winning  his  spurs ',  articles  not 
generally  associated  with  seamanship, 
except  in  the  case  of  the  legendary 
Commander  of  the  Swiss  Fleet.— D.  N., 
6th  July  1883. 

Commando  (Transvaal  War,  1899). 
A  regiment.  Name  found  by  Dutch.  In 
a  few  days  it  was  in  London  differenti- 
ated from  commandeering — which  was 
found  to  be  sheer  pressing  of  men, 
and  annexation  of  property. 

I  believe  that  the  first  attack  will  be 
made  on  the  large  Free  State  commando. 
— D.  M.,  25th  October  1899. 

Commercial  Drama  (Theat.,  Nov. 
1900).  Drama  that  pays — without 
relation  to  literature,  art,  wit,  poetry, 
or  any  other  comfortable  quality. 
Generally  depends  upon  surprise^scenery 
and  machinery,  or  the  reproduction  of 
well-known  places,  or  common  objects 
of  street  life.  Used  satirically,  but 
started  quite  seriously  in  a  lecture, 
with  this  title  ;  given  before  the  O.  P. 
club,  a  society  of  patrons  of  the  drama. 
The  lecturer  warmly  applauded  the 
commercial  drama,  of  which  he  declared 
himself  a  successful  producer  (at  Drury 
Lane),  while  he  intensified  his  position 
by  an  attack  upon  Shakespeare,  of 
whose  plays  he  declared  that  some  were 
so  pervaded  by  horrors  that  they  were 
thereby  objectionable,  while  he  main- 
tained that  some  half  dozen  could  not 
be  produced  on  the  modern  stage. 

'  Oh,  yes,  quite  a  commercial  drama 
— thousands  of  pounds  in  it,  and  not 
one  sentence  worth  hearing. ' 

Commercial  legs  (Recruiting  ser- 
geants'). Bad  ones — unfitted  to  drill. 

A  slender,  awkward,  shambling  youth, 
with  the  '  confounded  commercial  legs ', 
which  show  that  he  has  never  taken  the 
Queen's  shilling,  etc.—  Newsp.  Cutting. 

Common-roomed  (Varsity).  Had 
up  before  the  head  of  the  college— the 
common  room  being  the  principal's 
chamber  of  state.  Good  example  of 
substitution  of  place  for  person. 

The  descendants  of  Mr  Dickenson  may 
not  mind  a  story  as  to  how  he  climbed  the 
college  gates,  and  was  being  'common 
roomed ',  when  cries  were  heard  of 
'  Dickenson  for  ever ! '  from  the  Quad, 
and  it  was  found  that  he  had  won  the 
Latin  verse  prize. — D.  N.,  7th  October 

Commonsensible  (Soc.,  1890  on). 
The  condition  of  common  sense. 

English  jurisprudence  has  had  a  blunt 
and  downright  way  of  presuming  a  man's 
motives  from  the  results  of  his  conduct — 
a  somewhat  rough  and  ready  method  no 
doubt,  but  still  eminently  '  Commonsen- 
sible '.— Z».  T.,  21st  January  1898. 


Compos,  Non 

Considerable  Action 

Compos,  Non  (19  cent.}.  Abbrevia- 
tion of  non  compos  mentis — and  a  very 
lame  one  too. 

The  churchwardens  proved  that  he 
raised  the  disturbance  before  the 
collection  had  commenced.  It  was 
stated  that  this  was  not  the  prisoner's 
first  appearance  on  a  similar  charge, 
and  a  doctor  had  certified  that  he  was 
not  altogether  compos. — D.  T.,  23rd 
February  1897. 

Comstockism  (Amer.-Eng.,^  1885 
on).  Opposition  to  the  nude  in  art. 
Comstock  was  quite  a  public  man  in 
America.  He  for  some  years  had  a 
formidable  following  in  his  attacks 
upon  '  naked  art '. 

Comstock  on  Nudity. — He  admits  that 
it  is  not  necessarily  obscene  —  the  pro- 
prieties observed.  Anthony  Comstock 
(in  heated  bath-room) :  '  Hello  !  Hello  ! 
I  say,  porter !  Bring  me  a  match.  I 
can't  see  to  fix  my  necktie.'  Servant 
(hastening  to  the  door) :  '  Did  the  gas  go 
out,  sah?'  'No;  I  put  it  out.  I've 
been  taking  a  bath '  — (1889.)  (See 

Con  (Polit.,  1883).  An  abbrevia- 
tion of  Constitutionals,  a  designation 
fugitively  borne  by  the  Conservatives 
in  this  year.  This  rather  contemptuous 
word  was  bestowed  by  the  Radicals  in 
return  for  the  discovery  of  Rad  (q.v.). 

Mr  Wilson  Croker  in  The  Quarterly 
Review  more  than  forty  years  ago  re- 
commended the  Tory  party  to  abandon 
that  designation  and  call  themselves 
instead  the  Conservative  party.  The 
Quarterly  Review  of  the  present  day 
seems  disposed  to  think  that  the  title 
of  Conservative  should  be  quietly 
dropped,  and  that  of  '  Constitutional ' 
adopted  instead.—!).  N..  20th  October 

Con  (Thieves'}.  Simply  disguised 

Concertize  (Musical}.  From 
America — to  assist  musically  in  con- 

M.  Ovide  Musin,  the  great  Belgian 
violinist,  has  returned  to  this  city  to 
concertize  under  Mr  L.  M.  Eubens' 
management. — Neivsp.  Cutting.  Novem- 
ber 1885. 

Concrete  Impression  (Art.,  1890 
on)  Conviction.  One  of  the  most 
absurd  of  the  art  critical  'finds'  of 
the  '90's. 

Thus,  Mr  Peppercorn's  'Bosham,  Early 
Morning',  is  all  breeze  and  grey  light, 
but  not  much  else;  the  study  is  not 
distinctive  enough  to  call  up  a  definite 

and  concrete  impression. — D.  T.,  4th 
January  1896. 

Condemned;     Condemnation 

(Sporting,  1870).  Damned ;  a  damn. 
A  sort  of  jocular  avoidance  of  even 
mild  swearing. 

David  out-gagged  even  himself,  and 
caused  great  laughter.  Nobody  else  was 
worth  a  condemnation. — Ref.,  llth 
December  1884. 

'  Ducks  ! '  I  says  ;  '  you  condemned 
lunatic,  them  ain't  ducks ;  them's  mud 
hens ! ' — Cutting. 

Confidence  -  queen  (Ang.  -  Amer. , 
1883).  A  female  detective — outcome 
of  American  state  of  society. 

The  confidence  queen  of  Miss  Caroline 
Hill  revealed  that  lady's  stage  qualities 
to  great  advantage,  especially  in  the 
scene  of  the  third  act. — N.  Y.  Mercury, 
June  1884. 

Confidence  man  (Thieves'}. — He  is 
a  specious  gentleman  who  asks  his  way 
of  one  who  appears  to  be  a  promising 
victim,  and  whom  he  never  meets, 
but  overtakes,  after  allowing  him  to 
pass,  and  so  take  stock  of  him.  He 
then  enters  into  conversation,  asks 
the  victim  to  have  a  drink — as  they 
approach  the  tavern  where  the  con- 
federate awaits  results.  If  the  victim 
accepts,  the  confederate,  who  appears 
to  be  a  stranger,  begins  showing  what 
appears  to  be  gold,  and  making 
foolishly  weak  bets.  The  confidence 
man  then  whispers  confidentially  to 
victim  that  they  may  as  well  have 
the  fool's  money  as  another.  If  the 
victim  is  as  much  rogue  as  fool,  he 
consents,  and  by  some  one  of  twenty 
dodges  (see  365  Straightforward  Ways 
of  Cheating),  he  is  robbed.  If  he  is 
honest,  however,  his  honesty  saves  his 

Congo  patois  (Amer.,  1884). 
Slang.  Term  heard  at  Liverpool. 

The  professor  bad,  probably,  been 
reading  those  shockingly  poor  books,  the 
Grandissimes,  Dr  Sevier  and  the  Creoles, 
in  which  Congo  patois,  as  it  is  called,  is 
ascribed  to  educated  white  people. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Considerable  amount  of  united 
action  (Parliamentary,  1888).  Con- 
spiracy. Early  in  this  year  Mr 
Herbert  Gladstone  charged  the  Conser- 
vative opposition  with  '  malicious  con- 
spiracy' to  oppose  the  government. 
Called  to  account,  he  modified  the 
statement  into  this  phrase,  which 

Conspiracy  of  Silence 


henceforth  remained  a  satirical 
euphemism  amongst  the  younger  Con- 
servatives for  '  conspiracy '  in  general. 

Mr  Herbert  Gladstone,  however,  is 
mildly  of  opinion  that  his  words  were 
'  stronger  than  the  occasion  justified ', 
and  that  he  would  more  accurately  have 
expressed  whatever  amount  of  meaning 
was  present  in  his  mind  by  substituting 
for  '  malicious  conspiracy '  the  phrase  '  a 
considerable  amount  of  united  action '. — 
Globe,  16th  March  1883. 

Conspiracy  of  silence  (Soc.,  1885). 
Evasion  of  comment.  Created  by  the 
silence  of  general  press  in  relation  to 
certain  terrible  articles  in  The  Pall 
Mall  Gazette.— (1885.) 

Some  of  the  clergy  and  some  of  the 
judges  have  at  last  been  aroused  to  the 
danger  of  the  situation,  and  many 
journals  are  now  breaking  through  the 
'  conspiracy  of  silence ',  and  boldly 
denouncing  the  shameless  creatures,  etc. 
—Me/.,  31st  August  1885. 

Constant  -  screamer  (Peoples',  1860 
on).  Concertina  —  A  satirical  ono- 
matope  of  the  musical  instrument  in 
question — which  is  a  machine  played 
by  an  upward  pull,  and  a  downward 
pressure  of  the  construction,  which  has 
much  the  appearance  of  a  tubular 
Japanese  lantern. 

Tommy  of  the  Artillery  and  Army 
Service  is  brimful  of  music  hall  talent, 
and  nightly  upon  the  foredeck  to  the 
melody  of  a  '  Constant- Scream er '  he 
warbles,  solo  or  chorus,  'Off  to  Ashantee'. 
— I).  T.,  20th  December  1895. 

Constructive  Assault  (Sporting, 
1880).  Attendance  at  a  prize-fight. 

Some  time  ago  the  whole  of  the 
common  law  Judges  met  to  decide  the 
question,  what  is  an  assault?  The  point 
arose  out  of  a  decision  of  a  Chairman  at 
Quarter  Sessions,  who  had  ruled  that  any 
one  '  assisting '  at  a  prize-fight  was  guilty 
of  a  'constructive  assault'.  The  Lord 
Chief  Justice  of  England  agreed  with 
the  Chairman,  and  carried  a  majority 
of  the  Court  with  him.—  D.  N.,  14th 
October  1884. 

Consume  salt  (Theat.).  English 
equivalent  of  cum  grano  salis. 

A  recent  Modjeska  poisoning  item  in 
the  country  papers  suggests  that  some 
stars  must  consume  a  great  deal  of  salt 
if  they  read  about  their  reported  doings. 

Contango  (Stock  Exchange).  Practi- 
cally, suspense  or  renewal  of  a  transac- 
tion. (See  Bull,  Bear,  and  especially 

Backwardation.)  These  entries  read 
and  furthermore  understood — contango 
may  possibly  be  comprehended.  No 
gain  being  made  on  a  transaction,  and 
the  backwardation  being  paid,  the 
contract  is  renewed,  in  the  same  terms, 
upon  the  price  at  the  commencement 
of  the  transaction,  and  without  refer- 
ence to  the  price  of  the  day  when  the 
contango  is  arranged.  This  process  is 
more  generally  indulged  in  when  there 
has  been  no,  or  very  little,  variation  in 
the  price  of  a  given  security  between 
purchase-day  and  settling-day. 

Context,  To  (Printers'  and  Type- 
writers'}. To  try  to  ascertain,  or  to 
discover  a  badly  written  word  in 
'  copy ',  by  its  context,  by  studying 
the  words  on  both  sides  of  it;  e.g., 
*  Oh,  context  it,  and  do  the  best  you 

Continent  (Artier.,  1880).  The 
latest  shape  of  oath  in  the  States;  e.g., 
'  What  the  continent  do  you  mean  by 
it  ? '  It  refers  of  course  to  the  conti- 
nent of  America.  Origin  obscure. 
Not  in  any  way  the  transmutation  of 
a  word  like  it. 

Not  one  of  them  even  looked  up.  Not 
one  of  them  seemed  to  care  a  continental 
whether  his  old  ore  assayed  15  or  95  per 
cent.  They  had  all  '  been  there '.—  Wall 
Street  News  (1883). 

Conversation,  A  little.  Violent 

Coo-ey  (1860  on).  Shout  of  good- 
fellowship.  This  cry,  with  a  long 
accent  on  the  '  ey '  is  an  imitation  of 
the  Australian  aborigines'  friendly 
call  to  another  from  long  distances  in 
the  bush.  It  is  therefore  naturally  a 
friendly  call  here  in  the  home  coimtry, 
and  is  never  used  in  an  inimical  spirit. 
It  is  generally  used  to  find  a  friend 
lost  in  a  crowd,  or  far  ahead  by  night 
in  the  street.  Probably  introduced  by 
sailors,  the  starters  of  so  much  hearty, 
vigorous,  popular  passing  English — 
probably  miners  who  have  tried  their 
luck  at  the  gold  fields,  and  found  it 
only  trying.  The  gold  diggers  were 
the  first  to  adopt  the  '  coo-ey ' — which, 
properly  pitched,  appears  to  travel  with 
exceptional  vigour.  The  e-e-e-y  is 
always  half  a  tone  below  the  '  coo ', 
which  is  generally  pitched  as  high  as 
the  individual  voice  will  allow.  The 
Australian  starts  upon  the  «C'  in  alt, 
or  that  ut  de  poitrine  which  is  the 
ambition  of  every  operatic  tenor  in 
the  world. 


Cooking  Day 


Cooking  Day  (Navy).  Twenty- 
four  hours  devoted  to  Bacchus. 

Cool  (Sack  -  phrase).  Means  look, 
'  c'  being  used  in  place  of*  k',  probably 
because  being  a  true  word  it  is  more 

Cool  her  on  Sunday  in  a  black  velvet 
costoom,  with  boots,  gloves,  and  gamp 
to  match.—  Cutting. 

Cooper  (Nautical).  One  who  sells 
liquors  on  the  sly  ;  also  one  who  buys 
illicit  spirits.  Applied  (1884)  to  the 
vessels,  generally  Dutch,  which  follow 
English  fishing  smacks  into  the  North 
Sea.  Also  applied  to  the  cooper's 

Another  matter  in  which  he  took  deep 
interest  was  the  suppression  of  those 
floating  grog-shops  in  the  North  Sea 
which  have  done  so  much  injury,  and 
no  inconsiderable  step  was  taken  in  that 
direction  when  he  made  arrangements 
by  which  duty-free  tobacco  is  now 
supplied  from  the  mission  smacks  in  the 
North  Sea  to  the  fishermen,  who  have 
not  now  the  inducement  to  board  the 
'Coopers'  which  before  existed.—  Prince 
of  Wales,  Birkbeck  Testimonial  Fish- 
mongers' Hall,  31st  October  1885. 

There  is  a  queer  craft  always  hanging 
about.  She  is  called  a  '  cooper ',  and  no 
man  cares  whence  she  comes.  She  flies 
sometimes  an  English,  sometimes  a 
foreign  flag,  and  is  in  fact  denned  by  the 
Duke  of  Edinburgh  as  a  floating  grog- 
shop of  the  worst  kind.—  D.  N.,  20th 
June  1883. 

Cooper  (Peoples').  The  name  of  a 
beer-mixture  of  common  beer  (3d.  per 
quart)  and  stout  (6d.  to  8d.  per  quart). 
Named  from  the  coopers  who  invented 
the  mixture. 

Cooper  up,  To  (Boer  War,  1899- 
1900).  To  surround,  fix,  render  im- 
movable—from the  fixing  of  the  staves 
of  a  tub  by  its  hoops. 

The  pursuit  of  De  Wet  failed,  and  the 
swoop  in  a  semi-circle  from  Pretoria  to 
Pinnaar's  Poort,  miscarried  in  so  far  as 
'  coopering  up '  De  la  Key,  Theron,  or 
any  of  the  lesser  Boer  leaders  and  raiders 
was  concerned.—  D.  T.,  20th  October 

Cop  (Thieves').  Complex  rhyming. 
Taken,  seized,  thrashed,  struck,  caiight 
by  disease,  well-scolded,  discovered  in 
cheating— a  universal  verb  suggesting 
defeat  or  damage  of  some  kind.  There 
has  been  more  discussion  over  this 
widely  applied  word  than  any  other 
in  the  kingdom  of  phrase.  It  is  a  very 

obscure,  complicated,  abbreviated, 
back  -  phrasing  example.  It  is  to 
'  pocket '  (in  the  shape  of  receiving) — 
the  tek  being  elided — when  poc  being 
spelt  backwards  '  cop '  appears.  When 
the  police  cop  a  man  he  is  practically 
'pocketed'.  So  with  all  the  many 
applications  of  this  word — with  a  little 
indulgence — its  vigour  will  be  seen. 
Its  common  use  is  '  cop  the  yenneps ', 
penny  backworded,  with  an  '  e '  added 
for  the  sake  of  euphony,  the  plural 
being  made  in  the  ordinary  way. 
'  I've  copped  the  yenneps,  and  I'm 
off  to  the  carse  and  the  burick'— that 
is,  home  and  wife.  Cop  has  another 
meaning — to  take  too  much  to  drink. 
In  universal  use. 

Cop  a  mouse  (Artisans').  Get  a 
black  eye.  Cop  in  this  sense  is  to 
catch  or  suffer,  while  the  colour  of  the 
obligation  at  its  worst  suggests  the 
colour  aad  size  of  the  innocent  animal 

Cop  on  the  cross,  To  (Thieves'). 
To  discover  guilt,  by  cunning. 

A  good  way  of  copping  her  on  the 
cross  is  to  pretend  to  go  off  into  the 
country  for  a  day  or  two,  and  come 
down  on  her  in  the  middle  of  the  night. 
— Gutting. 

Cop  the  brewery,  To  (L.  Class, 
19  cent.).  To  get  drunk. 

Cop  the  curtain  (Music  Hall,  pass- 
ing into  the  theatres,  1880).  To  gain 
so  much  applause  that  the  curtain  is 
raised  for  the  performer  to  appear  and 
bow.  *  The  Basher  copped  the  curtain 
twice,  and  was  a  great  go.' 

Copper  (Street,  1868  on).  A  police- 
man. The  term  superseded  Peeler, 
Robert,  Bob,  Bobby.  From  the  com- 
mon street  verb  '  cop '.  '  There's  a 
copper  round  the  corner  will  (1884) 
scurry  a  covey  of  toddlers  wrangling 
in  the  gutter  more  rapidly  than  a 
four-horse  waggon.'  Copper  is  perhaps 
the  first  word  the  infantile  street  arab 
thoroughly  comprehends. 

This  word  is  also  used  as  an  ex- 
clamation amongst  work-people  when 
any  one  of  their  number  is  blustering. 
It  means  giving  himself  the  airs  of 
police  authority. 

'  Copper  !  copper  !  we  shall  soon  be  a 
sergeant ! ' 

The  incident  of  the  trial  which  will 
probably  pass  on  and  become  history 
when  the  rest  is  forgotten  was  the  en- 


Copper  Captain 


quiry  of  Mr  Justice  Hawkins  as  to  the 
meaning  of  the  word  '  copper '.  The 
witness  kindly  explained  to  the  innocent 
judge  that  a  copper  is  a  policeman — one 
who  'cops'.—  Re/.,  15th  August  1888. 

'  A  Lady'  writes  to  a  fashionable  rag 
that  the  low-necked  dress  is  an  abomina- 
tion, '  into  which  it  is  the  duty  of  the 
press  to  look.'  Look  !  No,  old  gal.  If 
any  of  'em  come  near  me  I  shall  cry 
'  copper ! ' 

'  I  cry  copper '  was  the  refrain  of  a 
popular  song  (1882)  in  which  the  police- 
men '  got  it '. 

Copper  Captain  (Queen's  Bench 
Prison,  South wark).  A  captain  found 
in  neither  Army  nor  Navy  List.  An 
officer  of  self- promotion. 

'  The  Affable  Hawks  and  other  varieties 
of  copper  captains  have  taken  flight  from 
the  Borough  Road.  Flash  songs  are  no 
longer  heard  behind  the  high  walls, 
on  the  inner  side  of  which  the  racquet 
courts  are  still  marked  out,  and  a  ghastly 
stillness  has  fallen  upon  the  once  thickly 
peopled  spot.' — Article  upon  Queen's 
Bench  Prison  (1881),  then  about  to  be 
pulled  down.  'But  the  modern  practi- 
tioner has  shown  a  notable  advance  in 
method  from  the  copper  captains,  table 
knights,  and  Dandos  of  yore.' — I).  If., 
February  1882. 

'The  company  contains  many  copper 
captains,  brazen  adventurers,  and  women 
whose  character  is  advertised  in  their 
countenances.'— D.  N.t  26th  August  1883. 

Copper-clawing  (Street.)  A  fight 
between  women.  Probably  a  corrup- 
tion of  '  cap-a-clawing ' — a  pulling  of 
caps — a  phrase  which  ceased  to  be 
applicable  when  lower  -  class  women 
ceased  to  wear  caps. — (1820.) 

Copper-rattle  (Navy) .  Irish,  gener- 
ally Irish,  or  other  stew — from  the 
hubble-bubble  of  this  boiling  delicacy 
— called  in  London  city  restaurants, 
*  French  Pie '. 

Copper's  Nark  ( Thieves').  A  police- 
man's civilian  spy. 

Upon  this  the  prisoner,  who  was  stand- 
ing by,  accused  witness  of  being  a 
'copper's  nark'  (i.e.,  a  police  spy),  and 
dealt  him  several  severe  blows. — I).  T., 
18th  October  1897. 

Copper's  Shanty  ( C.  L. ).  A  police 
station.  Shanty  is  from  the  back- 
woods of  America  —  a  small,  cosy 

'  Do  you  think  I've  arrived  at  my  time 
of  life  'without  seeing  the  inside  of  a 
copper's  shanty  ? ' — Cutting. 

Copper  -slosher.  An  individual 
with  the  mania  of  '  going  for '  police- 

Miss  Selina  Gripp,  the  well-known 
copper-slosher,  returned  to  the  buzzim  of 
her  family  on  Tuesday  from  Tothill,  where 
she  had  been  staying  for  some  months. — 
Mock  Fashionable  Intelligence,  1882. 

Copy  (Printers').  The  matter  to  be 
set  up  in  type,  and  which  must  be  one 
of  two  kinds,  the  ever  legitimate  MS. 
or  manuscript,  and  the  frequently 
stolen  reprint. 

The  copy's  bad,  as  though  with  skewer 
the  author  wrote,  and  watery  ink. 
'  What  word  is  this  ? '  quoth  one.  '  Ele- 
phant, elegant,  or  telephone?'  'Oh,  I 
don't  know,  at  this  time  of  night ;  put  it 
what  you  like,  and  let  the  reader  find  it 
out. ' — Cutting. 

Coqcigrues  (European).  Utopias, 
impossibilities.  The  word  evidently 
refers  to  something  that  will  never 
happen.  It  is  on  all  fours  with  the 
French  folksaying  :  '  That  will  happen 
in  the  week  of  the  four  Thursdays.' 
May  it  be  Coqs  aux  Grues— cock  fowls 
that  are  half  storks  or  cranes — more 
especially  referring  to  the  differences 
between  the  gallinaceous  claw  and  the 
long  leg  and  web-foot  of  the  stork. 
The  anticipation  of  arrival  is  also  con- 
sistent with  the  migratory  habits  of 
storks,  and  also  of  the  coqs  de  Bray  ere. 
'  Coqcigrues '  may  have  originally  been 
booth  clowns  —  professional  jesters  ; 
applied  afterwards  generally  to  foolish 
people.  They  were  dressed  as  cocks, 
with  feathers  and  cocks'  heads,  and 
danced  upon  stilts,  hence  the  reference 
to  storks — '  grues ' ;  or  cocks  on  storks' 

If  reform  can  only  come  from  within, 
the  teaching  of  history  warns  us  that  we 
cannot  expect  reform  till  the  coming  of 
the  Coqcigrues. — D.  N.,  June  1885. 

The  king  sent  John  de  Shoreditch  to 
ask  the  Dean  and  Chapter  for  a  loan  of 
the  hundred  marks  left  by  Bishop  Wil- 
liam de  Marcia,  and  kept  at  Wells  usque 
ad  generate  passagium  ad  Terrain  Sanctum 
— '  till  the  general  passage  to  the  Holy 
Land  ; '  that  is  to  say,  till  the  coming 
of  the  Coqcigrues,  or  usque  ad  adventum 
Coqcigruorum.  — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Corfee-'ouse  cut  (Cheesemongers'). 
The  back  of  bacon,  without  bones,  and 
exceptionally  used  by  coffee- house 

Cork  (Workshop).  The  cork  (pro- 
bably from  the  American  caucas)  is  the 




complainant  who  brings  a  charge  before 
the  shop-constable  and  the  garret. 
He  may  bring  a  complaint  against  a 
fellow-workman  of  a  technical  char- 
acter, or  of  some  social  nature  or  even 
crime.  The  restraint  upon  the  cork 
takes  the  shape  of  the  rule  which  com- 
pels him  to  pay  five  shillings  if  he  lose 
the  case,  while  the  defendant,  when  los- 
ing, is  mulcted  in  but  half-a-crown.  Of 
these  tines  half  is  generally  spent  in 
drink  in  the  shop,  the  other  forwarded 
to  the  secretary  of  the  Union,  who 
applies  it  to  the  General  Purposes 

Corkscrew  (L.  Lond.).  An  evasive 
pronunciation  of  God's  Truth — used 
satirically.  (See  Cheese  and  Crust.) 

Corn-crackers  (Amer. ).  The  people 
of  Kentucky  ;  probably  from  the  im- 
mensities of  corn  grown  there. 

Corner  Boys  (Ihiblin).  Loafers, 
who  generally  affect  street  corners,  as 
presenting  more  scope  (1)  for  seeing, 
and  (2)  for  bolting. 

Kilmainham  was  reached  a  few  min- 
utes before  five  o'clock.  There  were 
only  a  few  corner  boys  present  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  the  prison,  and  there 
was  no  demonstration  of  any  kind. — 
Report  of  Arrest  of  Mr  Dillon,  M.P., 

The  term  comes  from  America. 

Cornichon  (Soc.,  1880).  A  muff. 
Direct  from  French— gherkin. 

Yet  are  not  all  French  sportsmen  good 
shots  ;  indeed,  for  every  decent  gun  you 
must  reckon  twenty  highly  developed 
cornichons — French  for  muffs. — Newsp. 

Cornstalks  (A ustral.).  The  people 
of  New  South  Wales ;  from  this  pro- 
vince growing  quantities  of  corn. 
Given  by  the  people  of  Victoria. 

Being  usually  of  good  height,  but 
wanting  in  depth  and  breadth,  they  have 
gained  for  themselves  the  epithet  of  corn- 
stalks, which  is  saying  a  great  deal  for 
the  value  of  their  heads. — Baden  Powell, 
New  Homes  for  the  Old  Country.  (See 
Gum-suckers. ) 

Cornucopia  (Amer.).  A  rich  in- 

We  who  dine  at  noon,  live  in  one- 
story  cottages  with  mortgages  on  them, 
and  have  wet  blankets  thrown  over  us  as 
we  slowly  elbow  our  way  through  life, 
sometimes  envy  the  old  cornucopias  as 
we  see  them  go  down  to  the  bank  to 
draw  their  dividends.— Cutting. 

Correctitude  (Soc.,  1900).  Correct- 
ness. Latinised  word  first  seen  and 
heard  in  England  in  1900.  Probably 
from  U.S.A. 

M.  Delcasse,  it  is  true,  has  all  along 
been  a  pattern  of  '  correctitude ' ;  but 
the  Waldeck  -  Rousseau  Cabinet  had  a 
difficult  people  to  deal  with. — D.  T., 
29th  December  1900. 

Corroboree  (Nautical).  A  drunken 
spree,  in  which  there  is  much  yelling. 
Supposed  to  be  derived  from  a  term 
used  by  some  unknown  South  Sea 
Islanders  to  describe  a  wordy  and 
excited  interview.  Every  sailor  knows 
the  word,  sometimes  used  disparag- 
ingly as  *  It  just  was  a  corroboree.' 

Gould  (Handbook  of  the  Birds  of 
Australia}  says  it  is  the  Australian 
native  word  for  a  discussion,  or  pow- 
wow. '  The  males '  (of  an  Australian 
bird)  '  congregate  and  form  corroboree 

Corpse  (Theat.).  To  balk  a  fellow- 
actor  on  the  stage  while  he  is  acting, 
by  some  by-play  or  facial  action  which 
attracts  attention.  Very  emphatic. 
'  Look  here,  Joe,  if  you  corpse  me 
again  to-night  in  the  second  act,  while 
you  are  up,  I'll  pull  your  long  nose  ! ' 

Corpse-worship  (Club,  1880  on). 
The  extreme  use  of  flowers  at  funerals. 
This  custom,  set  by  the  Queen  at  the 
mausoleum  (Frogmore)  immediately 
after  the  death  of  the  Prince  Consort, 
grew  rapidly,  until  the  custom  had 
extended  to  quite  the  lower  classes, 
amongst  whom  neighbours  vied  in  for- 
warding expensive  floral  tributes. 
Finally,  in  the  '90's,  many  death 
notices  in  the  press  were  followed  by 
the  legend,  '  No  flowers  '. 

Corsey  (Sporting).  Stiff  betting 
or  play — not  from  race-course,  as  it 
might  well  be  supposed,  but  from 
French  corse. 

Baccarat  may  be  played  for  any  sums, 
from  the  petit  baccarat  desante,  the  family 
baccarat,  up  to  the  sport  which  is  usually 
described  as  corse,  or  in  stronger  lan- 
guage reckless. — D.  N.,  18th  January 

Cosey  (Slums).  A  small,  hilarious 
public-house,  where  singing,  dancing, 
drinking,  etc. ,  goes  on  at  all  hours. 

Cosh  (Amer.).  One  of  the  veiled 
ways  of  naming  the  Deity. 

The  word  '  Oshkosh  '  is  the  name  of  a 
town,  and  not  a  form  of  profanity  in  use 
by  the  Scandinavians,  from  whom  the 




Americans  have  obtained  it  in  the  modi- 
fied form  of  '  Cosh  !  Good-morning ' — 
said  satirically,  of  course,  as  to  Scandi- 

Coss  (Natters').  A  blow.  Origin 
obscure  —  probably  the  name  of  a 

Coster  (Low  Life).  Short  for  coster- 
monger,  a  great  being  in  low  life, 
generally  a  sort  of  prince,  and  often  a 
king  o'  the  costers.  To  be  really  royal 
he  must  make  money,  but  save  nothing, 
dress  beautifully  (see  Pearlies),  be  hand- 
some in  a  rough  way,  be  always  flush 
of  cash  and  liberal  with  it,  possess  a 
handsome  girl  or  wife  (generally  the 
latter),  and  above  all,  fight  well,  and 
always  be  ready  to  fight.  Reign  gener- 
ally extends  to  five  years  (nineteen  to 
twenty-four),  when  he  either  takes  a 
shop  and  does  well,  takes  to  drink  and 
does  worse,  or  growing  ancient,  grizzly, 
or  broken  with  disease,  loses  a  fight, 
abdicates,  and  sinks  into  the  ranks. 
Said  to  be  derived  from  '  Quatre 
saisons' — the  'Marchand  des  quatre 
saisons ' — that  is  fruit  and  vegetables 
of  spring,  summer,  autumn,  and 

Costermonger  Joe  (Com.  London). 
Common  title  for  a  favourite  coster. 

Costermongering  (Musical,  1850). 
Altering  orchestral  or  choral  music, 
especially  that  of  great  composers. 
From  the  habit  Sir  Michael  Costa 
sometimes  showed  of  modifying  the 
score  of  Handel.  Happy  hit,  as  con- 
trasting the  guerilla  business  of  the 
coster  with  the  proper  professional  and 
established  tradesman. 

But  the  costermongering  was  worse 
than  ever  this  time,  and,  in  mingled 
sorrow  and  anger,  amateurs  cried,  'Et 
tu,  Brute  ! '  Better  things  were  expected 
of  Mr  Manns,  but  it  was  found  that 
Caesar  and  Pompey  are  very  much  alike 
— specially  Pompey. — Ref.y  28th  June 

Costume  Play  (Theat.).  A  drama 
in  which  the  dresses  are  any  before 
those  of  the  19th  century,  but  not 
before  say  the  tenth;  e.g.,  'Thank 
God,'  she  observed,  '  I've  got  a  cos- 
tume play  at  last.  I  shall  klobber  in 
crimson  and  gold  for  the  first  act,  blue 
and  amber  for  the  second,  and  pure 
white  and  silver  for  my  death  in  the 
third.  I  shall  make  a  great  success. 
Redfern  will  make.' 

A  new  play  by  Eobert  Buchanan  is, 
however,  being  rehearsed  at  the  Vaude- 
ville. Like  Sophia,  it  is  a  '  costume ' 
piece.— Re/.,  5th  February  1888. 

Costume  plays  are,  to  the  thinking  of 
some  folk,  handicapped  because  they  are 
costume  plays.  It  is  sneeringly  said 
that  the  modern  young  actor  cannot  be 
at  ease  unless  he  can  dive  his  hands  into 
his  pockets.—  D.  T.,  18th  July  1899. 

Cot  so  (18  cent.}.  An  evasion  of 
God's  oath — the  Redemption.  Com- 
mon in  Richardson. 

Cottages  (Fast  youtJis').  Ves- 
pasians ;  retiring  points  for  half  a 
minute.  Said  to  be  derived  from  the 
published  particulars  of  an  eccentri- 
cally worded  will  in  which  the  testator 
left  a  large  fortune  to  be  laid  out  in 
building  '  cottages  of  convenience '. 
Passing  away  in  favour  of  the  under- 
ground palaces  dedicated  to  Cloacina — 
palaces  generally  termed  'Fountain 
Temples '  or  '  Palaces '. 

Cough  Drop  (Peoples',  1860  on). 
Poison,  or  even  anything  disagreeable. 
'  Lor',  what  a  cough  drop  she  are  ! ' 
From  the  ominous  motto  used  many 
years  since  with  a  cough  lozenge — 
'  Cough  no  more '.  The  gruesome 
double  entendre  here  was  first  seen 
by  W.  Brough,  who  incorporated  it 
in  a  burlesque — for  when  you  are  dead 
you  cough  no  more  ! 

'  Honest  John  Burns, '  who  has  been 
returned  for  Battersea  by  the  skin  of  his 
teeth,  and  who  would  have  benefited 
considerably  had  his  constituents  given 
him  a  holiday,  objects  to  being  called  '  a 
cough  drop  \-Ref.,  27th  July  1895. 

'Oh,  he's  awful  leary — a  very  cough 
drop — a  genuine  red  hot  treat,  make  no 
blooming  error.'  'Oh,  she's  a  cough 
drop,  a  red  hot  treat,  and  no  mistake. ' — 

Couldn't  speak  a  threepenny  bit 
(Street,  1890  on).  Utter  temporary 
incapacity  for  speech.  '  I  couldn't 
speak  a  threepenny  bit,  but  I  made 
myself  a  luvverley  cup  o'  tea,  an'  I 
were  soon  better.'  The  lady  had  pro- 
bably been  drinking — indeed  the  phrase 
may  be  an  elegant  evasion  of  the  ad- 
mission of,  at  least,  partial  intoxica- 

Counting-house  (Street,  1870).  A 
stupid  perversion  of  countenance  — 
supposed  to  be  comic.  '  Just  take  a 
squint  at  his  counting-house.' 

We  get  into  the  shop  and  see  a  really 
fine-looking  dona  smiling  all  over  her 
counting-house. — Gutting. 

Country  Cousin 


Country  Cousin  (Rhyming).  A 
dozen,  e.g.,  '„'  They  put  away  about 
three  country  cousins  o'  Bass.' 

County-crop  (1856).  A  closely- 
cropped  head  of  hair,  such  as  is  im- 
posed upon  prisoners  sent  to  the  county 
jails.  In  1856  when  the  Crimean 
soldiers  returned  with  long  heavy 
beards,  which  for  many  years  remained 
a  national  fashion,  it  was  found  that 
longish  hair,  such  as  had  been  worn 
all  the  century,  gave  with  the  heavy 
beard  too  top-heavy  an  appearance. 
The  hair  was  therefore  cut  down,  and 
the  result  was  dubbed  a  county  crop, 
while  the  beard  was  called  a  door- 
mat, shortened  to  mat.  '  He's  got  a 
crop  and  mat '  quite  described  the 
swell  of  1856-1857.  The  door -mat 
has  vanished — the  'crop'  (1897)  re- 

Couple  of  Flats  (Theat.).  Double 
meaning.  In  the  old  time,  before  the 
advent  of  elaborate  set  scenery,  two 
scene  screens  run  on  from  opposite 
sides  and  joining  in  the  centre  were 
called  a  'couple  of  flats'.  Applied 
to  two  bad  actors.  (See  '  Camp  at 
Olympia ',  by  Planche.) 

Course-keeper  ( Winchester  School}. 
A  bully's  bully.  The  Wykehamist 
strong  enough  to  compel  fagging 
officeredthe  'course-keeper' — a  medium 
between  the  oldest  and  youngest  of  the 
scholars.  He  deputed  his  work  to  one 
of  the  smallest  boys. 

The '  offices  which  the  Eton  fag  per- 
forms are  amongst  the  lightest  of  the 
duties  of  the  Winchester  fag.  Besides 
these  he  had  to  clean  dirty  boots,  clean 
frying-pans,  cook  breakfasts,  and  fetch 
water.  The  infliction  of  some  of  the 
most  offensive  of  these  duties,  as  e.g., 
cleaning  frying-pans,  was  often  deputed 
to  a  middle  boy,  or  '  course-keeper '  as 
he  was  called,  who  gratified  any  personal 
grudge  he  might  have  against  any  parti- 
cular small  boy  by  selecting  him  for  the 
odious  task. — Letter  to  Daily  News. 

The  term  remains,  but  fagging  at 
Winchester  is  a  thing  of  the  wretched 

Couscousou  (A  Igerian  French,  1 840). 
The  native  rendering  of  qu'est-ce  que 
c'est,  the  enquiry  a  French  soldier 
always  puts  upon  every  possible 
occasion,  and  which  the  Algerian  has 
supposed  to  be  the  name  of  a  stew. 
Hence  in  imitating  this  dish  they 
apply  the  enquiry  it  would  elicit 

from  a  French  onlooker — equivalent  to 
our  *  kickshaw '.  Used  to  be  used  in 
London  eating-houses  —  derived  un- 
doubtedly from  the  same  French  origin. 

Cover  to  Cover,  From  (Soc.t 
18  eent.  on).  Through  and  through. 
Good  example  of  the  spread  of  educa- 
tion and  reading  yielding  new  phrases, 
for  of  course  this  figure  of  speech  is 
obtained  from  reading  a  book  from 
first  page  to  last. 

I  can  vouch  that  Sir  William  White, 
who  knew  him  'from  cover  to  cover', 
never  entertained  this  view  of  his 
character.— Z>.  T.,  12th  June  1897. 

Covered  Br ougham  (Peoples' ,  1870). 
A  waggon  with  tarpaulin  over  the  top. 
Given  to  the  vehicles  which  once  plied 
from  the  Bank  to  the  East  of  London, 
taking  up  customers  too  late  for  even 
the  last  'bus.  They  were  in  especial 
force  on  Saturday  night,  and  were 
generally  very  convivial.  The  increase 
in  the  number  of  'buses  swept  away 
the  covered  brougham.  (See  Virgins' 

Cow-boy  (Local  Amer.).  A  Texas 
fanner,  from  his  cattle-raising  —  boy 
being  a  common  term  for  men  of  all 
ages.  'The  graziers  of  Colorado  have 
come  to  the  title  of  '  cow-boys  '. 

Cow  with  the  iron  tail  (Peoples'). 
Pump.  A  way  of  attacking  milkmen 
who  until  about  1865  sold  extensively 
watered  milk.  This  phrase  was  very 
familiar  until  certain  municipal  acts 
were  passed  which  by  penalties  put 
down  the  watering  of  milk.  (See 

*  Simpson',  'Hard  Simpson',  '  Liquor', 

Cow-juice  (Amer.).  Milk  —  used 
by  Buckstone,  the  actor,  in  Our  Ameri- 
can Cousin. 

Cowlick  (Peoples').  A  wisp  of 
growing  hair,  of  different  colour  from 
the  general  tone.  '  Lick  '  is  evidently 
a  corruption  of  *  lock ',  and  cow  has 
nothing  whatever  to  do  with  kine. 
Good  example  how  the  Anglicizing  of 
one  word  modifies  another  in  associa- 
tion with  it.  The  first  word  having 
been  turned  into  '  cow ',  and  lock 
having  no  meaning  in  connection  with 

*  cow ',  it  became  lick,  and  the  double 
error  suggested  a  cow-lick  which  had 
turned  the  colour  of  the  wisp  of  hair. 
Probably  in  the  first  place  from  a  lock 
common  to  the  head  of  a  clan,  the 




Gow  or  Gough,  Irish  or  Scotch.  This 
wisp  of  hair  in  all  probability  fre- 
quently became  a  birth-mark,  and  was 
probably  often  imitated  by  art  when 
nature  arrested  the  inheritance.  ^  A 
very  powerful  French  drama,  in  which 
Fechter  was  famous  in  Paris  was  built 
up  on  a  cow-lick  (Les  Fils  de  la  Nuit). 
A  superstition  of  luck  or  ill-luck 
attaches  to  the  cow -lick.  '  Ha  !  he 
always  had  a  lucky  cow-lick.'  The 
'  widow's  lick  '  or  '  lock '  is  a  tuft  of 
unmanageable  hair  which  grows  lower 
than  the  rest  of  the  forehead  hair,  and 
is  always  at  or  near  the  centre  of  the 
top  of  the  forehead.  The  belief  that  a 
woman  possessed  of  this  lock,  generally 
of  a  greyish  tone,  must  lose  her  hus- 
band has,  in  past  generations,  pre- 
vented many  a  good  woman  from 
getting  even  a  worse  husband.  John- 
son has  nothing  to  say  to  this  word. 

Coxey  (Aug. -Amer. ,  1894).  A  wild 
political  leader.  From  an  American 
politician  of  this  name  who  pioneered 
a  number  of  out-of-work  mechanics, 
who  seized  trains  and  invaded  Wash- 

The  march  of  the  '  tramps  '  in  America 
is  a  very  live  thing.  The  'Coxeyites' 
are  having  a  tremendous  amount  of  fun, 
and  the  eyes  of  the  world  are  upon  them. 
—Ref.,  29th  April  1894. 

Coxies  (Low  Glass).  Corruption  of 
cock's  eyes.  A  term  at  dominoes  for 
double  I.  A  good  example  of  rebus 
phrasing.  Probably  a  translation  from 
the  French  ceil  de  cog — especially  as  a 
single  one  is  called  'udder  cock' — ceil 
de  coq,  although  rarely,  '  Cock's  eye '  is 
the  general  term.  The  other  names  for 
dominoes  are  evidently  French  —  2, 
tray  ;  3,  duce  ;  4,  quarters  ;  5,  sinks. 
The  whites  are  called  '  blanks  ',  while 
the  sixes  have  become  quite  English. 
Interesting  to  mark  that  '  tray '  and 
'  duce '  are  used  still  by  old-fashioned 
people  for  2  and  3  at  cards,  while  even 
the  French  *  valet '  is  still  '  varlet '. 

Coy-gutted  (Devonshire).  Difficult 
in  the  matter  of  eating.  Generally 
used  with  an  addition  more  emphatic 
than  elegant. 

Crabby  (W.  Eng.).  A  carpenter- 
said  despitefully.  Origin  vague. 

Crack  (Jovial,  18 cent.}.  A  royster-^ 
ing  meeting,  derived  from  '  cracking  ' 
and  finishing  a  bottle  of  wine. 

'My  poor  old  mother',  he  wrote, 
1  comes  in  with  her  sincere,  anxious  old 

face.  "Send  my  love  to  Jane,  and  tell 
her"  (this  with  a  woeish  face)  "I  would 
like  right  weel  to  have  a  crack  "  (conver- 
sation) "  wi'  her  once  more."  ' — FKOUDE, 
Carlyle's  Life  in  London,  vol.  ii.,  p.  96. 

Crack  (London).  A  narrow  passage 
of  houses  ;  e.g.,  '  'Ave  yer  seen  the 
grand  duchess  of  our  crack  this  blessed 
mornin' — gorne  to  the  Cristial  Pallis 
in  'lectric  blue — she  'av.' 

Crack  a  case  (Thieves').  To  break 
into  a  house.  '  Case '  from  casa 
(Italian)  anglicized. 

Crack  a  wheeze  (Theatrical).  To 
utter  the  last  thing  out — '  wheeze ' 
probably  from  the  alcholic  guffaw 
which  follows  the  tale,  especially  if  it 
is  erotic. 

*  Cracking  a  wheeze  '  is  a  phrase  which 
has  always  struck  us  as  extraordinary, 
especially  as  it  has  not  the  recommenda- 
tion of  brevity.  It  is  synonymous  with 
the  sailor  -  slang  phrase,  '  spinning  a 
yarn '. 

Crack  the  bell  (Peoples').  To  pro- 
duce failure  by  speech  ;  or  even  act,  to 
reveal  a  secret  unintentionally ;  to 
muddle — the  phrase  in  fact  has  many 
meanings.  Derived  from  the  necessity 
of  being  silent  while  casting  a  bell,  the 
belief,  coming  down  from  monastic 
times,  that  a  mere  word  spoken  during 
casting  may  produce  a  flaw  in  the  bell ; 
e.g.,  'What?  told  Tom— Jack's  going 
to  marry  Jill  ?  Then  you  have  cracked 
the  bell.'  'She  dropped  in  the  mud 
with  all  her  new  togs  on,  and  cracked 
the  bell  in  a  jiffy.'  (See  Let  the  Cat 
out  of  the  Bag. ) 

Crack  the  monica  (Music-halls). 
The  chairman,  who  once  ruled  in  these 
places — he  vanished  in  the  '80's — had 
before  him  a  table  -  bell,  which  he 
sounded  after  certain  ways,  one  of 
which  informed  the  audience  applaud- 
ing a  singer  who  had  retired  that  he 
or  she  would  appear  again.  '  He 
cracked  the  monica,  an'  on  she  came 
smilin'  like  "jam"' — the  monica  is 
the  bell. 

Cracker  (American).  A  biscuit. 
The  English  word,  evidently  meaning 
'  twice  cooked ',  or  baked,  is  a  mis- 
nomer, while  the  States'-wide  synonym 
is  at  least  a  good  specimen  of  orioma- 

I,  a  lone  bachelor,  a  lone  fisherman, 
with  infinite  pains  and  great  pleasure, 
first  dipped  these  ink-pots  in  the  freshest 



Credit  Draper 

of  eggs  beaten  up  ;  after  that  into  the 
finest  and  crisped  cracker  dust. — Newsp. 

This  ink-pot  is  cuttle-fish,  named 
after  a  protective  secretion  it  throws 
out  when  pursued.  Its  more  fish- 
mongerly  title  is  squid.  It  abounds  in 
New  York  waters.  They  are  capital 
eating  when  '  dusted '  and  fried. 

Cracker  (S.  Carolina).  Native — 
origin  unknown. 

Imagine  a  tall,  gaunt,  loose-jointed 
man,  with  long  grizzled  hair,  deep-set 
eyes  that  glow  like  coals  of  living  fire, 
high,  square  shoulders,  a  stooping, 
slouching  gait ;  skin  wrinkled  and  dirty 
beyond  pen  description  ;  hands  and  feet 
immense,  the  former  grimy  and  with 
protruding  knuckles,  the  latter  incased 
in  cowhide  boots  with  soles  an  inch  thick 
and  of  astonishing  width  ;  clothes  beside 
which  Joseph's  coat  would  sink  into  insig- 
nificance, so  covered  are  they  with  patches 
of  divers  colours — this  is  a  South  Caro- 
lina 'cracker'.—  Newsp.  Cutting,  1883. 

Crackpot  (Stock  Exchange,  1880). 
A  doubtful  company  promoter,  a  man 
who  has  the  appearance  of  prosperity 
and  who  is  but  an  impostor.  This 
word  may  come  from  New  York.  '  A 
crackpot  in  the  city'  is  a  term  so 
familiar  that  it  was  taken  for  the 
chorus  in  a  comic  song.  It  appears 
even  in  France  where  a  commercial 
crash  of  a  swindling  nature  or  a  politi- 
cal breakdown  is  called  a  '  krach ' 
(pronounced  crack;,  which  may  repre- 
sent either  crack  or  '  crash ' — more 
probably  the  latter— bearing  in  mind 
French  spelling  of  most  English  words. 
'  Crackpot '  replaced  the  phrase  '  Lame 
Duck '. 

They  take  the  honours,  and  they  should 
do  some  of  the  work.  Besides,  they 
might  improve  their  minds  by  listening 
occasionally  to  'The  Crackpot  in  the 
City'  and  ' Tiddy-fol-lol'.—  Ref.,  28th 
January  1883. 

1  We  do  a  tremendous  business  in  our 
bank,'  said  one  crackpot  to  another. 
'  Why,  through  buying  ink  at  a  new 
place  we  save  £200  a  year.  Fancy  the 
amount  of  writing  we  do.' — Cutting. 

Cracksman  (Thieves',  18  cent.).  A 
man  who  cracks  buildings — a  burglar, 
as  distinct  from  a  high  toby  man  or  a 
low  toby  fellow.  (See  High  Toby.) 

Craft  (Youths',  1870).  A  bicycle, 
from  liking  the  machine  to  a  ship. 
(See  Beast,  Bone-Shaker,  Craft,  Crock.) 

Crambo  Song  (Peoples').  Still 
heard  in  the  remoter  parts  of  England. 

Roystering  ballad,  of  a  cavalier,  wine, 
and  women  swing.  From  the  eternal 
Spanish  carambo  orcaramba,  shortened 
by  the  omission  of  the  first  vowel. 
Probably  brought  over  by  Philip  of 
Spain ;  or  a  countess  in  the  suite  of 
Catherine  of  Braganza,  or  Charles  II. 
may  be  answerable.  This  cry  would 
be  a  beloved  one  in  the  mouth  of  a  man 
who  did  not  object  to  be  called  '  Old 
Rowley ' — Charles  II.  indeed  was  rather 
proud  of  the  distinction.  Rowley  him- 
self was  an  etalon  in  the  royal  stables. 

'  The  secret  flew  out  of  the  right  pocket  of 
his  coat  in  a  whole  swarm  of  your  carambo 
songs,  short-footed  odes,  and  long-legged 
pindarics.' — Farquhar,  The  Inconstant. 

Cranky  gawk  (Chicago).  Equal  to 
Scotch  '  dazed  gowk  ' — said  of  a  stupid, 
awkward  lad. 

Crazy  quilt  (Awier.  Mid.  CL).  A 
quilt  of  patchwork,  made  at  random. 

The  old  woman's  dress  looked  like  a 
crazy  quilt,  and  two  of  the  boys  had  only 
one  trousers-leg  apiece. — Texas  Si/tings, 

Craythur,  Craytur,  or  Craychur 
(Irish).  Whiskey;  e.g.,  'Oh,  for  the 
love  o'  God  giv  me  now  a  taste  o'  the 
craythur.'  The  origin  of  the  word  may 
be  of  singular  significance  in  consider- 
ing the  history  of  Ireland  and  the 
Irish  if  it  is  really  '  creator '  and  not 
*  creature ',  as  it  is  generally  supposed. 
In  the  latter  case  'creature'  means 
Satan.  This  is  certain,  that  for  years 
after  the  middle  of  the  18th  century 
whiskey  was  not  known  in  Ireland, 
while  during  the  period  of  Home  Rule 
(1782-1800)  Grattan  himself  in  the 
Dublin  House  of  Commons  declared 
every  seventh  house  in  Ireland  was  a 
whiskey  shop. 

Cream  Ice  Jacks  (London  Streets). 
Street  -  sellers  of  £d.  ices.  Jacks — 
probably  from  Giacomo  and  Giacopo. 
'They've  a  bad  time  of  it,  'ave  the 
cream  ice  Jacks,  for  whenever  a  kid 
gits  ill  the  mother  goes  for  the  jack  an' 
'as  it  out  with  'im.' 

Creams  (London  Street).  Abbre- 
viation of  cold-creams,  in  its  turn  a 
droll  mode  of  describing  the  Coldstream 
Guards.  Intimates  that  they  are 
dandies,  and  know  how  to  get  them- 
selves up.  '  Now  then,  my  creams- 
gods  of  the  essences,'  he  observed. 
'  Then  there  was  a  shindy  ! ' 

Credit  Draper  (Peoples').  A  smooth- 
spoken seeming  cheat — from  the  tally- 
man system,  whose  practitioners  have 
97  G 



bestowed  upon  themselves  this  evasive 
and  hypocritically  benignant  name. 
'  Don't  believe  a  word  'e  'ave  to  say — 
Vs  on'y  a  credit  draper.' 

Cremorne  (Society,  1884).  An  open- 
air  place  of  amusement  frequented  by 
doubtful  women.  From  public  Lon- 
don gardens  of  that  name,  long  since 
built  over.  Applied  in  1884  to  the 
'  Inventories '  (see)  when  that  enter- 
tainment was  so  frequented  by '  tarts ' 
that  it  became  in  the  evening  scarcely 
a  place  to  which  a  girl  could  take  her 
mother.  Now  applied  generally. 

But  as  it  is  certain  that  no  porter  with 
a  flaming  sword  can  possibly  stand  at  the 
gate  to  decline  the  shillings  of  persons  not 
immaculately  virtuous,  so  it  is  probable 
that  some  day  a  cry  will  be  raised  about 
a  '  Cremorne  '.  When  once  that  ominous 
word  is  whispered  people  begin  to  be  shy 
of  their  natural  pastime  of  letting  the 
evening  pass  in  the  open  air. — D.  N., 
10th  November  1886. 

Creoles  (Amer.).  People  of  Louis- 
iana—probably a  satire  by  the  north 
upon  the  illegitimate  mingling  of  slave- 
owners' and  slaves'  blood  previous  to 

Crib  (Street,  1800-40).  To  conquer 
with  the  fists  fairly.  From  Tom  Crib, 
a  celebrated  pugilist  early  in  the  19th 
century.  To  crib,  meaning  to  thrash,  is 
still  heard  in  the  slums  of  London  and 
other  great  cities.  In  the  nautical 
novel,  'Rattlin  the  Reefer'  (chap.  Ixii.), 
is  this  paragraph  : 

Apt  quotation  ! — you  are  cabined — 
you  are  cribbed  —  you  are  confined  — 
cribbed — look  at  your  countenance — as  I 
said  before,  'tis  the  hand  of  Providence. 
— Gutting. 

Crime  (Army}.  Small  fault.  Often 
intentional.  '  Squinting  on  parade '  is 
a  crime.  '  What  will  a  sergeant  not 
go  for  to  say — ain't  you  got  a  crime  ? ' 
— that  is  to  say,  confinement  to  bar- 
racks or  extra  drill  scored  against  a 

Crimea  (1856).  The  full-beard— 
given  to  the  first  long  beards  worn  in 
England  from  the  time  of  Elizabeth  to 
that  of  Victoria.  The  fashion  of  shav- 
ing, which  passed  from  France  (Louis 
XIII.)  to  England,  prevailed  here  long 
after  Frenchmen  had  begun  to  grow 
hair.  The  severity  of  the  winter 
1854-55  (in  the  Crimea)  caused  the 
issue  of  an  order  to  wear  beards,  and 
these  were  retained.  Upon  the  return 
of  the  few  survivors,  their  strange  and 

fierce  beards  were  thus  dubbed,  and 
amongst  the  people  the  term  has  re- 
mained. 'My  eye,  what  a  Crimeer 
Bill  have  got  along  o'  the  doctor  for 
'is  bronkikkis  (bronchitis).' 

Before  the  invasion  of  the  Crimea  no 
man,  '  unless  an  officer  in  Her  Majesty's 
cavalry,  ever  ventured  to  wear  a  beard  or 
moustache'. — Sir  A.  West,  Memoirs,  1897. 

Criss-cross  (Peoples').  A  corruption 
of  Christ's  Cross — one  of  the  few  re- 
ligious exclamations  which  have  not 
become  vulgarized  since  the  Refor- 
mation. Generally  refers  to  right 
angles  in  textile  fabrics,  wood,  and 
metal  work.  Sometimes  used  excla- 
matively.  '  S'help  me  criss-cross  '  (or 
crass),  '  I  didn't ! ' 

Not  many  who  use  this  word  appear 
to  have  any  idea  of  its  meaning,  yet  it 
is  one  of  the  few  old  Catholic  oaths 
which  have  retained  muck  of  the 
original  sound. 

Croak  (Society,  19  cent.).  To  be 
hypocritical,  suggested  by  the  lament- 
able declaration  of  a  frog  when  he 
tunes  up. 

John  Hollingshead  for  some  time  past 
has  been  telling  his  patrons  how  they 
croaked  in  1807. — Newsp.  Gutting.  March 

Crock  (Youths',  1870).  A  bicycle, 
One  of  the  more  obscure  names  for  this 
apparatus.  Perhaps  from  part  of  the 
name  of  a  builder.  (See  Beast,  Bone- 
shaker, Craft.) 

Crocks  (Art  jargon,  1880).  Orna- 
mental china.  This  term  came  in 
when,  from  1870  to  1880,  the  porcelain 
mania  raged,  and  huge  sums  were  given 
for  even  poor  specimens  of  china.  This 
word  of  meek  uuobtrusiveness  is  an 
abbreviation  of  crockery-ware.  (See 
Rags  and  Timbers. ) 

Crocodile  (Society,  1850).  A  lady's 
school  out  walking.  A  ballad  in  the 
forties  went : 

'  I'd  rather  meet  a  crocodile 
Than  meet  a  lady's  school.' 

Crocodiles'  Tears  (Peoples',  19  cent.). 
Imitation  sorrow. 

Many  visitors  have  probably  passed  by 
the  alligator  in  the  somewhat  out-of- 
the-way  corner  where  he  at  present 
sojourns ;  but  others  know  him  well, 
and  love  to  stir  him  up  until  he  swells 
out  with  anger,  and  emits  from  the 
corners  of  his  eyes  the  queer  little 
bubbles  which  pass  for  crocodiles'  tears. 
— D.  N.,  21st  March  1883. 

Crocus  (Thieves').  A  mock  doctor 
— a  cheap-jack  gentleman  with  a 



Crowbar  Brigade 

wonderful  cure.  Simple  derivation  : 
'  croak ',  to  kill,  or  cause  to  croak,  and 

Crony  (Peoples').  A  friend,  or  rather 
trusted  and  loved  companion.  John- 
son says  of  this  word:  'An  old 
acquaintance,  a  companion  of  long 
standing.'  Generally  used  with  the 
qualifying  adjective  '  old '.  Swift  has 
this  word  : 

'  Strange  an  astrologer  should  die 
Without  one  warder  in  the  sky  ! 
Not  one  of  all  his  crony  stars 
To  pay  their  duty  at  his  herse  ! ' 

Pepys  (30th  May  1665)  says  : 

'Died  Jack  Cole,  who  was  a  great 
crony  of  mine.' 

Probably  one  of  the  few  words  came 
from  one  of  the  universities.  If  so,  it 
is  possibly  derived  from  Chronos. 

Crooked  'un( Peoples').  Crook.  The 
reverse  of  a  straight  'un.  Generally 
said  of  a  husband  who  turns  out  bad. 
'  He  was  about  as  crooked  as  they 
make  'em.'  (See  By  Hook  or  by 

Crop  up  (Society,  1850).  To  sud- 
denly appear,  or  introduced.  'Then 
Jack  cropped  up'  —  from  geological 
term  referring  to  a  sudden  stratum. 
Accepted  when  geology  became  modish. 

Croppie  (Scottish).  Equivalent  of 
Roundhead,  and  used  precisely  in  the 
same  way.  Strangely  enough,  in  the 
1798  Irish  rebellion,  the  rebel  Irish 
were  called  croppies,  equally  from  the 
shortness  of  their  hair.  A  Hanoverian 
song  was  popular,  called  *  Croppies,  lie 
down,'  which  suggestion  of  treating 
them  as  dogs  made  the  rebels  very 
wild.  In  one  historical  instance  a 
servant  of  thirty  years'  standing  shot 
at  the  family  after  hearing  one  of 
them  singing  this  song. 

Cross-bench  mind  (Society,  IS  cent. ). 
Undecided,  hesitating  ;  from  the  cross 
benches  in  both  Houses  of  Parliament, 
upon  which  those  peers  or  members 
seat  themselves  who  have  not  made  up 
their  minds  to  which  party  they  be- 
long. '  Poor  man,  with  his  mother  to 
the  right  of  him,  and  his  wife  to  the 
left  of  him,  he  has  but  a  cross-bench 

Lord  Glenaveril  is  brought  up  partly 
in  Germany,  is  born  to  great  estates,  and 
takes  his  seat  on  the  cross-benches  of  the 
House  of  Lords.  But  poor  Lord  Glen- 
averil with  his  title,  and  his  land,  and  his 
patronising  Disposition,  and  his  '  cross- 
bench  mind  '.  is  merely  a  puppet  through 

whom,  about  whom,  and  starting  from 
whom,  Lord  Lytton  may  expound  his 
social  and  political  philosophy. — D.  N.. 
30th  March  1885. 

Crosses  (Peoples').  Woes,  miseries, 
sorrows.  This  may  be  derived  from 
'across',  or  more  probably  from  Catholic 
times,  and  a  reference  to  carrying  the 

Cross-grained  (Peoples').  Ill-tem- 
pered, hard  to  manage.  A  trade 
metaphor,  from  the  carpenter's  shop, 
where  cross-grained  wood  is  hard  to 
deal  with. 

Cross -life  men  (Thieves',  1878). 
Men  who  get  their  living  by  felony. 
Used  amongst  themselves  —  rather 
plaintively  it  would  seem,  and  in  re- 
markable contrast  with  the  18th  cen- 
tury term,  '  gentlemen  of  the  road ', 
'  high  toby  men ',  and  others. 

Sir  H.  James— What  do  you  mean  by 
men  of  your  class  ?  Witness— Men  of  the 
world — (laughter) — men  like  myself.  I 
did  not  tell  him  that  I  had  seen  gentle- 
men's servants  there — I  am  certain  of 
that.  I  did  not  use  the  term  that  the 
room  was  the  resort  of  cross-life  men 
(thieves).—  Bignell  v.  Iforsley,  1880. 

Cross  the  Ruby  (Fast  World,  early 
Id  cent.).  A  grotesque  abbreviation  of 
'cross  the  Rubicon',  with  the  same 
meaning.  Ruby  was  then  the  name  for 
port  wine. 

Crocheteer  (Society,  1880).  A  patron 
of  crotchets. 

Within  later  years  the  ladies  and 
gentlemen  who  feel  so  strongly  on  the 
subjects  of  vivisection,  compulsory  vac- 
cination, teetotalism,  Sunday  closing,  and 
other  cognate  topics,  have  been  called 
crotcheteers.— G.  A.  Sala,  /.  L.  N.,  12th 
May  1883. 

Crotchetty  (Society,  1 9  cent. ).  Eccen- 
tric, unexpected.  Trade  metaphor; 
from  music.  Probably  from  the  time 
when  solemn,  slow  church  music  was 
enlivened  by  the  comparatively  quick 
crotchet ;  or  it  may  be  from  a  man 
named  Crotchet. 

Crowbar  Brigade  (Irish,  1848). 
The  Irish  Constabulary.  From  the 
crowbar  used  in  throwing  down  cot- 
tages to  complete  eviction  of  tenants. 

After  a  while  the  whole  posse — sheriff, 
sub-sheriff,  agent,  bailiffs,  and  attendant 
policemen — came  to  be  designated  the 
'Crowbar  Brigade '.-— A.  M.  Sullivan, 

Still  used  to  deride  policemen  in 


Crowbar  Landlord 


Crowbar  Landlord  (Ireland,  19 
cent.).  Outcome  of  Crowbar  Brigade. 

I  recommend  my  countrymen  to  shoot 
the  crowbar  landlord  as  we  shoot  robbers 
or  rats,  at  night,  or  in  the  day,  on  the 
roadside  or  in  the  market  -  place  !  — 
T.  Mooney,  California,  1865. 

Crowd  ( Theatrical,  1870  on).  Simply 
the  audience;  e.g.,  'What  sort  of  a 
crowd  is  it  to-night  ? '  Also  a  theatri- 
cal company;  e.g.,  'Who's  in  the 
crowd  ? '  '  Lai  Brought  and  Arthur 
Roberts.'  'Oh,  then,  there  will  be  at 
least  half-a-dozen  laughs.'  Also  said 
of  the  mass  of  supers,  whose  numbers 
increase  yearly  ;  e.g.,  'I?  What  do  / 
do  ?  Oh,  I  go  on  with  the  crowd.' 

Crows'  feet  (Soc.).  Diverging  Delta 
wrinkles  at  the  outer  angles  of  the 

Crow's  nest  (Soc.,  1850  on).  Small 
bedroom  for  bachelors  high  up  in 
country  houses,  and  on  a  level  with 
the  tree  tops  ;  e.g.,  'Give  me  a  crow's 
nest,  and  pray  save  me  from  the  state 

Cruel  classes  (Soc.,  1893).  Used 
by  the  Duke  of  York,  6th  February 
1893,  on  the  occasion  of  his  first  public 
speech,  as  chairman  of  a  dinner  in  aid 
of  the  Society  for  Prevention  of  Cruelty 
to  Children.  At  once  took,  as  distin- 
guishing the  savages  of  the  lowest 
classes  from  the  lowest  classes  gener- 

Until  this  Society  came  into  existence 
the  lives  of  young  children  belonging  to 
the  cruel  classes  of  the  community  could 
not  be  considered  secure.  Their  very 
helplessness  made  them  an  easy  prey. 

Crumb.     See  Bit  o'  Crumb. 

Crumpet.     See  Barmy. 

Crush  the  stur  ( Thieves').  To  break 
from  prison— stur  being  abbreviation 
of  sturaban. 

A  short  time  after  I  ascertained  from 
the  jailor  who  payed  me  a  visit,  that  my 
two  '  fly '  friends  had  '  crushed  the  stir ', 
and  were  at  large,  ready  to  prey  on  the 
community  again. 

Crushed  (Soc.,  1895).  Spoony,  in 
love  with. 

Quite  new  is  the  slang  '  crushed '.  It 
is  used  in  place  of  the  expression, 
'mashed',  'struck',  etc.,  and  is  quite 
au  fait  with  the  summer  resort  girls. 
One  hears  everywhere  murmurs  of  Charlie 
Binks  being  utterly  'crushed'  on  Mabel 
Banks,  and  so  on  with  regard  to  various 
things.  Dora  tells  Flora  that  she  is 
*  crushed '  on  Jim's  new  sailor,  when  she 
really  isn't  damaging  his  headgear  at  all, 


and  so  it  goes.     The  English  language  is 
getting  awfully  queer  ! — American  Paper. 

Crusher  (Peoples').  A  policeman — 
evidently  a  word  suggesting  respect  for 
the  force.  Mr  W.  8.  Gilbert  used  this 
word  in  the  Bab  Ballads. 

'  One  day  that  crusher  lost  his  way, 
In  Poland  Street,  Soho  ! ' 

Crushers  (Namj).  Ships'  corporals, 
who  are  the  rank  and  file  of  the  master- 
at-arms.  Descriptive  term,  borrowed 
from  ashore,  where  this  term  is  still 
applied  satirically  to  policemen. 

Crusoe  (Iron  Trade).  A  good  ex- 
ample of  anglicising  ;  name  given  by 
English  ironmasters  and  workmen  to 
the  great  French  ironworks  at  Creuzot 
—a  reminiscence  of  Robinson  Crusoe. 

Cry!  (Peoples').  Shape  of  Carai— 
probably  introduced  by  English  gipsies 
passing  from  Spain.  One  of  the  libi- 
dinous good- wishes  at  nightfall,  similar 
to  Carambo.  Both  words  more  or  less 
known  to  the  oi  polloi.  Now  applied 
indiscriminately  to  express  surprise  of 
a  satiric  character. 

Cry  haro  (Jersey).  A  synonym  of 
justice.  Word  used  by  people  calling 
upon  their  lords  for  interference.  One 
of  the  first  railway  engines  run  out  of 
St  Helier's  was  named  '  Haro '.  Now 
used  as  a  'jollying'. 

It  is  characteristic  of  the  satirists  of 
the  hour  that  they  make  their  victims' 
very  sobriety  a  reproach.  If  he  is  per- 
fectly well  dressed,  an  excellent  thing  in 
youth,  is  exceptionally  quiet  and  well 
bred,  and  goes  frequently  to  the  theatre, 
they  dub  him  a  '  masher ',  and  '  cry  haro ' 
upon  him.—  Newsp.  Cutting,  1883. 

Cuff-shooter  (Street,  1875  on).  A 
clerk.  Name  invented  after  the  intro- 
duction of  shirt-cuffs  wide  enough  to 
come  down  well  over  the  hands  ;  a 
movement  of  the  arm  to  throw  forward 
the  cuffs  was  called  cuff-shooting  ;  said 
scornfully  or  enviously  of  young  clerks 
popularly  supposed  to  consider  them- 
selves leading  gentlemen;  e.g.,  'Well, 
what  if  I  am  a  coster?  I  earns  a 
dollar  (5s.),  where  a  blooming  cuff- 
shooter  don't  make  a  'og '  (Is.). 

This  wide  cuff  was  introduced  by  the 
late  Duke  of  Clarence.  He  also  in- 
vented the  high  collar.  Indeed  the 
prince's  designation  was  familiarly 
'  cuffs  and  collars ' — finally  '  cuffs '. 

Culver -head  (Lower  Classes).  A 
fool ;  practically  calf-head.  Probably 
from  Dutch  fishermen  (chiefly  with 
eels)  frequenting  Billingsgate,  once  the 

Cum  Grano 


matrix  of  so  many  vigorous  phrases. 
If  from  Holland  of  course  the  word  is 
a  corruption  of  Kalver,  which  gives  a 
name  to  one  of  the  chief  streets  of 

When  the  culver-headed  yeknods  are 
down  in  the  dumps,  strike  us  pink  if 
they're  not  as  humble  as  a  blackberry 
swagger. — Cutting. 

Cum  grano  (Anglo- Amer.).  Ab- 
breviation of  '  cum  grano  salis ' — with 
the  same  meaning.  To  listen — with 

Managers  as  a  rule  agree  with  Talley- 
rand that  words  were  made  to  conceal 
thoughts,  hence  theatrical  announce- 
ments are  always  received  cum  grano  by 
the  public.—  Newsp.  Cutting,  1883. 

Cummifo  (Peoples'}.  Cockney  for 
com/me  ilfaut. 

Were  it  not  that  she  is  a  lady,  and 
possesses  the  cachet  of  foreign  and  not 
home  production,  there  are  folk  who 
might  begin  to  have  a  dawning  suspicion 
that  she  is  within  a  couple  of  miles  or  so 
of  being  not  quite  as  cummifo  as  she 
might  be.—Ref.,  28th  April  1889. 

Cup  o'  tea  (Colloquial,  1870).  Con- 
solation— probably  suggested  by  a  cup 
of  tea  being  '  so  very  refreshing '  to 
persons  who  do  not  drink  any  shape  of 
alcohol.  Used  satirically  of  a  trouble- 
some person. 

'Oh,  don't  yer  though.  You  are  a 
nice  strong  cup  o'  tea.' — Cutting. 

Cupboard  (Lower  Classes).  Hungry. 
Hunger  suggested  by  mentioning  a  food 

A  pleasant  hour  or  so  was  spent  here, 
and  then  we  turned  our  faces  back 
towards  Valletta,  full  ready  for  the  lunch 
on  which  in  my  mind's  eye,  Horatio,  I 
had  been  feasting  for  some  while  before 
my  internal  economy  set  up  its  cry  of 
'  Cupboard '  \-Ref.,  6th  June  1886. 

Cupboardy  (Com.  Land.).  Close 
and  stuffy. 

I  ain't  one  of  them  fellers  as  thinks 
that  you  can't  keep  healthy  without  yer 
drinks  rose  water  and  eats  cream  cheese, 
but,  surely  me,  if  the  air  of  the  alley 
ain't  a-gettin'  rayther  too  cupboardy  for 
my  stomach. — D.  T.  (Greenwood). 

Curled  Darlings  (Soc.,  1856).  A 
name  given  to  military  officers  immedi- 
ately after  the  Crimean  War,  which 
once  more  brought  soldiers  into  fashion. 
Referred  to  the  waving  of  the  long 
beard  and  sweeping  moustache. 

But  it  is  needless  to  cite  instances  to 
be  found  by  the  score  in  warlike  annals, 
from  the  '  Gentlemen  of  the  French 
Guard  fire  first'  at  Fontenoy  to  the  well- 

fought  field  at  Inkerman,  when  the 
'curled  darlings'  approved  themselves 
metal  of  the  right  temper.  —  Newsp. 
Cutting,  May  1883. 

Curmudgeon  (Anglicized  French, 
17  cent.).  Coeur  mediant.  Probably 
from  court  of  Charles  II.  The  phrase 
is  colloquial  in  France. 

But  he  would  be  a  curmudgeon,  in- 
deed, who  grudged  the  warmest  praise 
for  an  entertainment  light,  lively,  and 
melodious,  appealing  to  the  eye  and 
grateful  to  the  ear.—  D.  T.,  9th  May 
1899.  (See  Quandary.) 

Coeur  mediant  is  much  objected  to 
as  the  origin  of  this  word.  It  is  fully 
accepted  here  on  the  principle  that  the 
more  obvious  derivation  is  preferred  to 
the  more  erudite,  on  the  ground  that 
corrupters  of  phrases  are  generally 

Curse  o'  Cromwell  (Irish).  One  of 
the  more  vigorous  civilities  exercised 
by  the  lower  Irish  to  their  equals.  No 
one  seems  to  know  what  the  'curse' 
Was — probably  his  presence  in  his  life- 
time— possibly  tertian  fever  after  the 
death  of  the  Protector. 

Curtain  (Theatrical,  1860  on).  A 
tableau  at  finish  of  act  or  play,  to 
obtain  applause. 

It  matters  little  for  the  purpose  of 
romance  whether  or  not  Nelson  saw  Miss 
Emma  Hart  in  Romney's  studio  before  he 
met  her  a  married  woman  at  Naples. 
These  things  have  to  be  done  for  stage- 
craft, for  theatrical  tricks,  for  what  are 
vulgarly  called  'curtains'.— P.  T.,  12th 
February  1897. 

It  is  singular,  considering  how  excel- 
lently French  dramatists  write,  that  they 
so  frequently  fail  in  getting  a  good 
<  curtain  '.—Ref.,  15th  March  1885. 

Also  a  'call  before  the  curtain'  at 
the  end  of  an  act  or  a  piece. 

Edward  Russell  plays  well  as  Peggotty. 
His  acting,  if  a  little  too  hurried,  was 
full  of  power,  and  he  revealed  consider- 
able pathos.  He  was  rewarded  with 
several  '  curtains '. 

(See  Take  a  curtain— Quick  curtain.) 

Curtain-taker  (Theatrical,  1882). 
An  actor  more  eager  even  than  his 
brethren  to  appear  before  the  curtain 
after  its  fall.  (See  Take  a  Curtain, 
Lightning  Curtain-taker,  Fake  a  cur- 

Curtains  (Regimental.)  A  name 
given  to  one  of  the  first  modes  of 
wearing  the  hair  low  on  the  military 
forehead  (1870).  The  locks  were 
divided  in  the  centre,  and  the  front 


Cut  a  Finger 

D.  V. 

hair  was  brought  down  in  two  loops, 
each  rounding  away  towards  the  temple. 
The  hair  was  glossed  and  flattened. — 
Quiver.  (See  Sixes,  To  put  on  the, 
Scoop,  etc.). 

Cut  a  finger  (Lower  Classes').  To 
cause  a  disagreeable  odour;  e.g.,  'My 
hi !  some  cove's  cut  'is  finger.' 

Cut  and  run  (Peoples').  Make  off 
rapidly,  retire  without  permission. 
Trade  metaphor.  From  sailoring,  and 
act  of  cutting  a  vessel  in  the  night- 
time from  her  moorings  and  then  run- 
ning before  the  wind.  Very  general  : 
probably  accepted  from  T.  P.  Cook  in 
Black-Eyed  Susan. 

Cut  one's  stick  (Old  Eng.)  To 
travel  for  work — the  stick  being  cut  or 
obtained  for  helpful  and  probably 
defensive  purposes. 

Cut  the  line  (Printers').  To  knock 
off  work — for  a  time  ;  origin  obscure, 
but  may  refer  to  the  line  of  type. 

Cut  the  record  (Peoples'  sporting). 
Victory.  Here  cut  is  used  as  sur- 

People  are  saying  that  the  Inventions 
Exhibition  is  not  so  much  talked  of  as 
previous  displays  at  South  Kensington 
have  been ;  but  I  think  that  as  soon  as 
we  get  hot  weather,  the  admission  returns 
will  cut  all  previous  records. — Entr'acte. 
30th  May  1885. 

Cut-throat  (W.  Amer.J.  Destruc- 
tive, reckless — applied  to  card-playing. 

It  is  not  uncommon,  therefore,  to  see 
merchants  (especially  American)  having 
a  social  game  of  '  cut  -  throat  monte ', 
'  eucre  ',  or  '  poker  ',  with  piles  of  gold 
before  them.—  All  the  Year  Round,  31st 
October  1868. 

Cycling  fringes  (Cycling,  1897). 
Especially  prepared  forehead  -  hair  to 
be  worn  by  such  women  bikers  as  had 
not  abjured  all  feminine  vanities. 

It  may  be,  of  course,  both  libellous  and 
ungallant  to  suggest  that  there  could  be 
any  possible  connection  with  those  won- 
derful '  cycling  fringes,  warranted  never 
to  come  out  of  curl,'  at  present  filling  the 
barbers'  windows.— 10th  March  1897. 

Cyclophobist  (Literary,  1880).  An 
invented  word  to  describe  haters  of 
tradesmen's  circulars. 

The  word  '  cyclophobist '  is  still  com- 
paratively new  to  the  English  language, 
and  perhaps  it  is  not  a  very  scholarly 
compound  to  express  '  a  man  who  hates 
and  dreads  tradesmen's  circulars'. — 
D.  N..  6th  January  1882. 

Naturally  came  to  be  applied  to  the 

opponent  of  the  bicycle,  as  this  vehicle 
became  ubiquitous. 

The  chairman,  on  whose  suggestion  the 
communication  was  laid  on  the  table  in 
the  first  instance,  explained  that  he  was 
not  a  'cyclophobist',  but  he  did  most 
emphatically  object  to  scorchers,  and 
racers,  and  pacemakers,  and  also  to  care- 
less riders,  of  whom  he  and  many  other 
people  went  in  daily  terror. — D.  T.,  9th 
December  1897. 

Cyrano  (Soc.,  1900).  A  huge  nose. 
Due  to  the  popularity  of  Rostand's 
play,  Cyrano  de  Bergerac,  whose  hero 
had  a  phenomenal  nose,  imitated  in 
pasteboard  by  French  and  English 
actors  who  played  the  part.  Pro- 
nounced See-ra-no,  with  the  accent  on 
the  first.  A  dactyl. 

Miss  Annie  Hughes  was  as  unlike  Sam 
Weller  as  it  is  possible  to  conceive.  The 
immortal  '  man '  was  not  a  dandy  '  tiger ' 
with  a  Whitechapel  accent  and  a  Cyrano 
nose.—  D.  T.,  16th  April  1900. 

(See  Boko,  Duke.) 


D.  B.  (Theatrical).  A  masked  mode 
of  condemnation. 

Although  Miss  Deby  was  d.  b. — which 
being  interpreted  means  deucedly  bad — 
some  of  those  about  her  were  deucedly 
good. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

D.  D.  (Naval).     Discharged— dead. 

The  usual  way  on  board  a  man-of-war 
of  writing  a  man's  epitaph  ;  as :  'Bill  ? 
Oh!  he's  D.  D.  —  this  year  agone.' 
— Captain  Chamier,  1820. 

D.  T.  Centres  (Lit.,  1880  on). 
Minor  Bohemian,  literary,  artistic,  and 
musical  clubs — from  the  jollity,  or 
supposed  jollity,  of  a  Bacchic  character 
which  continually  proceeds  within  their 
walls.  D.  T.  is  a  reduction  to  the 
absurd  of  delirium  tremens— or  'tre- 
menses,'  as  some  comic  folk  style  that 
self-imposed  disease. 

D.  V.  (Atheistic).  A  satiric  and 
not  very  adroit  application  of  the 
initials  of  '  Deo  Volente ',  to  '  Doubtful 
— very '. 

Fred  Hughes  says  that  the  letters 
'  D.  V. '  in  his  advertisement  referring 
to  his  appearance  at  the  Jumbo  Theatre, 
mean  '  doubtful — very '.  I  thought  so.  \ 

D.  V.  (Soc.).  Divorce.  Another 
shape  of  satire  upon  Deo  Volente — 
Heaven,  of  course,  having  certainly 



nothing  to  do  with  the  performance,  if 
papal  authority  is  of  any  value. 
Daddies  (Pugilistic).     Hands. 
All  was  in    readiness,   and   the   men 
having  shaken  daddies,  the  seconds  re- 
tired to  their  corners,  and  at  12.56  com- 
menced the  fight.—  Newsp.  Cutting,  1862. 
Daisy  (Amer.,  passing  to  England, 
1870).     A  charming,  fresh,  delightful 
person  or  thing. 

An  enthusiastic  admirer  of  '  The  Silver 
King '  lately,  in  the  upper  circle  of  the 
Grand  Opera  House  audibly  proclaimed 
Wilfrid  Denver  to  be  'a  daisy  '. — Newsp. 
Cutting,  October  1883. 

This  morning  a  young  man  walked  into 
the  office  with  a  huge  watermelon  in  his 
arms.  Placing  his  burden  on  the  counter 
he  addressed  the  agent :  '  Now,  isn't  that 
melon  a  daisy  ? ' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Specially  used  (and  abused)  as  a 
sentimental  basis  ;  hence  '  Daisy '  came 
to  he  synonymous  with  humhug. 

He  took  me  by  the  ear  and  said  I 
couldn't  come  no  '  daisy '  business  on 
him.— Detroit  Free  Press,  1883. 

Also  a  satirical  term  for  a  drunken 

Detective  Lanthier  had  hardly  ap- 
proached the  platform  where  the  '  Female 
Dudes '  were  on  exhibition  when  a  piping 
voice  exclaimed  familiarly :  'Vote  for  me, 
mister  ;  I  am  a  daisy  ! ' — N .  Y.  Mercury, 
8th  October  1883. 

Daisy  Crown  of  Cricket  (Sporting, 
1883  on).  Poets  have  their  imaginary 
bays,  warriors  their  imagined  laurels — 
the  field  daisy,  therefore,  is  the  appro- 
priate floral  emblem  given  to  the  cham- 
pion bowler,  batter,  fielder,  et  hoc. 

Oxford,  so  far,  is  retaining  her  mari- 
time supremacy,  though  the  daisy  crown 
of  cricket  is  decorating  other  brows. — 
D.N.,  6th  July  1883. 

Daisy-five-o' docker  (Amer.-Eng.}. 
A  charming  five  o'clock  tea.  An  ex- 
treme application  of  daisy,  as  a  term 
of  approbation. 

Dam  (University}.  Abbreviation  of 
*  damage '  in  relation  to  payment  for 
entertainment  or  entry  to  place  of 
amusement;  e.g.,  'What's  the  dam?' 
'  A  sov.  per  fellow.' 

Damager  (Theatrical,  1880).  A 
nonsense  name  for  manager.  Perhaps 
some  covert  reference  to  his  autocratic 
power  of  sweeping  out  a  comedian. 

The  green  room  became  so  crowded 
that  at  last  the  damager  was  compelled 
to  put  up  a  notice. — Neiosp.  Cutting. 

Then  a  damager  took  him  in  hand  and 
engaged  him  to  come  on  first. — Newsp. 

Dame  (Eton).  A  master  who  con- 
fines his  attention  to  mathematics.  To 
some  extent  a  supercilious  term. 

'  Badger '  Hale  went  to  this  school  as 
a  mathematical  teacher,  and  though  for 
the  last  twenty  years  he  took  the  classes 
in  natural  science,  he  remained,  to  use 
the  Eton  term,  a  '  dame ' — that  is  to  say, 
a  house-master  who  did  not  teach  the 
classics,  and  whose  boys  consequently 
always  had  a  '  tutor '  as  well  outside. — 
D.  T.,  26th  July  1894. 

Damfino  (Anglo- Amer.}  The  last 
instance  of  abbreviation  and  obscure 
swearing.  '  I  am  damned  if  I  know ' 
is  its  origin. 

A  vicious  college  student  being  asked 
what  he  intended  doing  after  graduating, 
replied:  'Damfino;  preach,  I  s'pose.' 

Damfoolishness  (Amer.,  passing  to 
Eng.}.  Intensification  of  foolishness, 
and  abbreviation  of  damned  foolishness. 
'  Now,  Hennery,  I  am  going  to  break 
you  of  this  damf  oolishness,  or  I  will  break 
your  neck.' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Damned  (Theatrical,  18  and  19 
cent.}.  Condemned  utterly  ;  e.g.,  'The 
piece  was  damned  from  the  gods  to  the 

Damned  good  swine  up  (Peoples', 
1880).  A  loud  quarrel.  Suspected  to 
be  of  American  origin.  In  the  States 
the  '  swine '  are  more  demonstrative 
than  at  home.  Here  even  the  common 
pig  is  quarrelsome  ;  e.g.,  'Tell  Cecil  to 
tone  himself  down  a  bit,  or  we  shall 
have  a  damned  good  swine  up.' 

Damirish  (Amer.,  1883).  A  dis- 
guised euphemism  for  '  damned  Irish '. 
When  I  read  the  story  in  the  papers 
about  the  explosion  in  the  British  Parlia- 
ment pa  was  hot.  He  said  the  dam- 
irish  was  ruining  the  whole  world. — A 
Bad  Boy's  Diary,  1883. 

Damp  bourbon  poultice  (Amer. 
Saloon}.  A  '  go '  of  whiskey. 

'  Postage  stamps ',  replied  the  country 
merchant,  as  he  slammed  the  door  and 
went  out  to  soothe  his  feelings  with  a 
damp  bourbon  poultice. — Newsp.  Cutting. 
Dampen  (Amer.,  Theatrical}.  A 
euphemism  for  '  to  damn  '. 

Most  interesting,  but  the  '  heroine ' 
dying  so  soon,  rather  dampens  the  piece 
in  her  opinion. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Damper  (Soc.,  1886  on).  A  dinner- 
bill — a  document  which  has  steadily 
increased  in  importance  through  many 
years.  Term  recognised  in  the  lines 
attributed  to  Theodore  Hook. 
Men  laugh  and  talk  until  the  feast  is  o'er  ; 
Then  comes  the  reckoning,  and  they 
laugh  no  more ! 



Dash  my  Wig 

Curiously  enough  the  French  found 
a  correlative  title  to  Damper,  viz., 
La  Douloureuse. 

La  Douloureuse !  Few  know  that  in 
modern  French  slang  it  means  the  bill 
that  is  offered  to  a  generous  host  after 
the  dinner  is  over  and  the  reckoning  is  at 
hand.— D.  T.,  29th  June  1897. 

Dance  (Fashion,  1890).  A  ball— 
this  latter  word  being  only  used  for 
solemn  state  and  aristocratic  functions. 

The  Duke  and  Duchess  of  Devonshire 
gave  a  large  dinner  party  last  evening  at 
Devonshire  House,  followed  by  a  dance 
reaching  the  dimensions  of  a  ball,  only 
that  the  word  has  fallen  out  of  favour 
save  for  public  functions. — D.  T.,  6th 
July  1899. 

Dance  upon  nothing  (Peoples',  18 
cent.}.  To  be  hanged— the  convulsive 
motions  of  the  legs  in  the  air  suggest- 
ing the  phrase.  Probably  took  the 
place  of  *  Mount  the  cart'  (q.v.),  when 
the  place  of  hanging  was  in  the  prison, 
or  its  shadow,  and  a  cart  was  no  longer 
in  vogue.  Passing  away  in  appositeness, 
now  that  the  hangman  uses  a  long  rope, 
so  that  the  neck  is  broken,  and  the 
victim  does  not  struggle.  (See  Hemp 
is  grown  for  you.) 

Dancing  dogs  (circa,  1880).  A 
satirical  title  applied  to  '  dancing  men ' 
when  dancing  began  to  go  out. 

Then  drop  in  those  supercilious  masters 
of  the  situation,  the  dancing  young  men, 
the  'dancing  dogs',  as  they  have  been 
called.—  D.  N.  Leader,  27th  March  1884. 

Dander  riz  (Amer.).  Classic  in 
Sam  Slide.  *  Dander '  is  indignation  ; 
'  riz ',  a  diminutive  of  '  raised '.  Dander 
is  probably  from  the  old  Dutch  of 
the  early  American  settlers  —  the 
source  of  so  much  American  droll 

I  don't  for  a  moment  say  that  she 
would  ;  but,  quoting  from  one  of  the 
Claimant's  own  letters,  '  Anna  Maria  has 
got  a  timper  of  her  own ',  and  there  is  no 
knowing  what  she  might  say  if  her 
'dander  were  riz'. — Entr'acte,  1st  Nov- 
ember 1884. 

Darbey  ( Thieves').  A  haul  (of  course 
of  stolen  goods). 

<  Ben— You  ought  to  be  in  London  on 
the  10th  of  this  month.  The  Prince  of 
Wales  will  be  married,  every  place  will 
be  Juminated,  and  all  the  "  lads  "  expect 
to  make  a  good  "  darbey  "  (good  haul,  or 
robbery).  Old  Bill  Clark  expects  about 
24  reddings  (gold  watches),  and  old  Tom 
and  Joe  expect  twice  as  many.' — Thief's 
Intercepted  Letter,  March  1863. 

In  the  plural  this  word  represents 

the  common  name  for  handcuffs.  It 
were  curious  to  trace  the  first  of  these 
bracelets  to  Derby,  which  *  on  the  spot ' 
is,  or  at  all  events  was,  pronounced 
'  Darby.' 

Dark  as  a  pocket  (Merchant  Sea- 
mens').  Very  expressive. 

Darkies  (Lower  Lond.  Soc.,  1860 
on).  A  synonym  for  the  coal-hole, 
the  shades,  and  the  cider  cellar — 
places  of  midnight  entertainment  in  or 
near  the  Strand,  all  famous  in  the  mid- 
nineteenth  century. 

The  days  of  The  Cider  Cellars,  and 
The  Shades,  called  in  slang  terms  '  The 
Darkies '  and? '  The  Coal  Holes '.  and  the 
low  music-halls  with  their  abominable 
songs,  and  the  Haymarket  orgies  and  the 
dancing  saloons  disappeared. — D.  T., 
20th  November  1896. 

Darn(Eng.-Amer.).  A  United  States 
evasion  of  damn,  and  very  suggestive 
of  household  occupation  and  equally 
innocent  swearing.  ( See  Dern. ) 

When  Sacramento  was  being  destroyed 
by  fire  some  of  the  merchants  managed 
to  save  some  champagne,  and,  going 
outside  the  town,  drank  '  Better  luck 
next  time.  This  is  a  great  country.' 
Next  day  a  tavern-keeper  had  a  space 
cleared  among  the  ruins,  and  over  a  little 
board  shanty  hastily  run  up  was  this 
inscription :  '  Lafayette  House.  Drinks 
two  bits.  Who  cares  a  darn  for  a  fire  ! ' 
— All  the  Year  Round,  31st  October  1868. 

Some  writers  maintain  that  this  term 
went  to  U.S.A.  from  England,  upon 
the  argument  of  the  phrase,  '  Darn  my 
old  wig,'  which  cannot  be  American. 
Here  a  kind  of  pun  was  intended,  for 
wigs  were  economically  darned.  Wigs 
have  passed  away,  as  a  fashion,  over  a 
hundred  years,  yet  this  phrase  is  still 
heard  at  and  about  Plymouth,  which 
suggests  that  the  word  may  have 
crossed  the  ditch  in  due  course,  sailing 
long  after  the  Mayflower. 

Vance  thinks  that  the  management  of 
Her  Majesty's  Theatre  are  a  darned  sight 
too  particular. — Newsp.  Gutting,  March 
1883.  (V.  was  a  very  clever  comic  singer, 
and  most  comic  in  petticoats). 

Dash  my  wig  (Peoples').  Another 
version  of  '  darn '  in  the  time  of  wigs. 
Still  heard,  though  wigs  are  seldom 
referred  to,  if  worn ;  rarely  worn 
amongst  men.  Some  wild  etymologists 
hold  this  to  be  a  perversion  of  '  Dish  the 
Whigs',  but  they  do  not  give  the  clue. 
Dishing  the  Whigs,  by  the  way,  may 
mean  '  douching'  them,  though,  on  the 




other  hand,  there  is  a  common  expres- 
sion, '  Well,  I'm  dished  ! '  but  this  is 
supposed  to  be  a  corruption  of  dashed, 
in  its  previous  turn  a  corruption  of 
d— dash— d,  the  printer's  moral  evasion 
of  'damn'  when  the  printing  of  this 
word  was  in  bad  taste,  and  was  bad  in 

Daverdy  (Devon).  Careless.  Pro- 
bably from  an  individual  notoriously 
untidy — possibly  David  Day. 

Day-bugs  (Essex  schools).  Day 
scholars  ;  e.g.,  '  Don't  row  with  that 
fellow,  he's  only  a  day-bug ' — said  by  a 
night-flea  or  boarder.  This  phrase  is 
interesting  as  showing  that  the  U.S.A. 
habit  of  using  '  bug '  for  beetle  went 
from  England. 

Dead  as  a  door-nail  (Peoples' ;  from 
Ireland).  Dead  as  O'Donnel ;  on  all 
fours  with  '  I'll  smash  you  into 
smithereens ' — that  is  to  say,  Smithers' 
Ruins— S.  having  had  his  house  pulled 
about  his  ears.  O'Donnel  being  dead 
and  Smithers  no  longer  alive,  the  two 
folk -phrases  become,  the  one  anglicized 
into  '  door-nail ',  the  other  into  a 
powerful  word  representing  complete 
destruction,  one  which  is  heard  to  this 
day  amongst  the  Irish  lower  classes 
wherever  found.  Probably  many 
phrases,  such  as  '  The  Twinkling  of  a 
Bed-post',  etc.,  are  built  upon  proper 
names  which  have  faded  from  memory, 
while  the  phrases  relating  to  them 
remain.  Dickens  begins  his  Christmas 
Carol  with  this  phrase :  *  Morley  was 
dead  as  a  door-nail — to  begin  with  ! ' 

Falsta/:  What !  is  the  old  king  dead  ? 

Pistol:  As  nail  in  door :  the  things  I 
speak  are  just.  Shakspeare. 

Dead-be  at  ( A  mer.  ~Eng. ).  A  pauper 
— lost  his  last  copper. 

'  Hang  me  ef  I  savvy  !  He  didn't 
pungle,  he  ain't  got  no  kit ;  and  nobody 
don't  know  him  !  Now  it's  my  opinion 
he's  a  dead  beat — that's  how  I  put  him 
up  ! ' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dead  broke  (A  mer.  -Eng.).  Another 
reading  of  dead  beat. 

'  Cheap  enough— dog  cheap  for  the  fun 
I  had,  but  I'm  dead  broke.  Had  60  dol- 
lars yesterday  morning,  but  she's  gone — 
all  gone — not  a  red  left.' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dead  give  away  (Amer.).  A 
swindle,  deception. 

He  would  seem  to  argue  with  her  that 
a  brood  of  chickens  would  be  a  dead  give 
away  on  them  both. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dead-eye  (Sailors',  19  cent.). 
Generally  '  A  bit  o'  dead-eye '.  Figura- 

tive reference  to  esoteric  effort.  ID 
ordinary  nautical  language  '  dead-eyes ' 
are  the  small  clean-cut  holes  worked  in 
rigging  blocks,  and  in  ships'  woodwork 
generally.  They  certainly  have  an 
appearance  of  shadowed  sight,  which 
is  very  startling  at  times.  Mr  W.  S. 
Gilbert  gave  this  term  to  his  hero, 
Dick  Dead-eye,  in  the  opera-bouffe 
E.M.S.  Pinafore— (1878). 

Deadhead  ( Theatrical,  from  A  mer. ). 
One  who  does  not  pay  his  or  her  entrance 
fee.  Critics  are  professional  deadheads. 
Hebrews  are  the  great  sinners  in  this 
connection,  they  getting  their  free 
passes,  they  themselves  only  knowing 
where.  All  'theatrical  people'  are 
deadheads,  for  they  never  pay  to  enter 
a  theatre.  '  The  female  deadhead  was 
in  a  red  opera  cloak — she  always  is.' 
This  vermilion  stain,  however,  has  now 

I  have  not  paid  a  cent  for  a  seat  at  the 
theatre  in  twenty  years.  I  boast  of  this 
sometimes.  Why  is  this?  I  am  sup- 
posed to  have  '  influence '.  I  am  one  of 
the  old  '  men  about  town '.  Really  I  am 
without  influence.  But  no  matter.  Let 
me  live  out  the  remainder  of  my  theatri- 
cal days  in  peace.  I  shall  be  a  real  dead- 
head soon.— Soliloquy  by  '  Old  Deadhead'. 

Mr  B.  V.  Page  has  written  a  good  song 
for  Miss  Tilley  on  the  '  deadhead  '  lay. 
After  this,  how  can  I  expect  him  to  pass 
me  into  the  Cambridge  stalls  ? — Entr'acte, 
30th  May  1885.  (See  Order  dead- 

He  wished  also  to  add  that  there 
were  quite  '  Deadheads  '  enough  visiting 
theatres.  Mr  Chance  asked  what  that 
meant.  Mr  Parkes  said  it  meant  a  class 
of  persons  who  under  various  excuses 
obtained  or  attempted  to  obtain  admis- 
sion to  theatres  and  places  of  public 
entertainment  without  paying. — Newsp. 
Cutting,  1882. 

The  experienced  eye  can  always 
divide  the  deadheads  from  the  '  plank- 
downers '  in  a  theatre.  The  dead- 
heads are  always  dressed  badly,  and 
give  themselves  airs  when  looking  at 
the  inferior  parts  of  the  house.  The 
plank- downers  never  give  themselves 
airs,  mean  business,  and  only  look  at 
the  stage.  Deadheads  are  very  empha- 
tically thus  described  by  a  theatrical 
official :  'Here  come  two  more  dead- 
heads ;  look  at  their  boots.' 

Dead-lock  (Street,  1887  on).  A 
Lock  Hospital.  Very  significant; 
e.g.,  '  Don't  muck  about — always  go  to 
the  dead -lock.'  Applied  from  the 


Dead  Number 

Delo  Diam 

habit  of  stags  clinching  their  horns, 
and  fighting  thus  to  the  death. 

Dead  number  (Com.  Lond.).  The 
last  number  in  a  row  or  street ;  per- 
haps the  end  of  the  street. 

Dead  'un  (City).  A  bankrupt  com- 
pany ;  e.g.,  'The  All  Round  Blessing 
Assurance  is  a  dead  'un.'  (Set 
Cadaver. ) 

Dead  wood  (Amer.  forest}.  Advan- 
tage. Origin  very  obscure.  In  clearing 
trees  a  skilful  axeman  so  acts  as  to 
take  every  advantage  from  the  hang  of 
the  tree  that  it  may  heel  over  and  save 
him  as  much  cutting  as  possible.  The 
gain  is  '  dead  wood'. 

She  extracted  a  twenty  dollar  bill,  and 
remarked  :  '  I  reckon  I've  got  the  dead 
wood  on  that  new  bonnet  I've  been 
sufferin'  for.' — Texas  Si f tings. 

Deal  of  weather  about  (Nautical). 
Bad  meteorological  times.  For  sailors 
fine  weather  is  no  weather  at  all.  On 
the  sea  the  word  always  means  dis- 
comfort and  struggle,  as  may  be  seen 
in  its  use,  '  weather  the  storm  '. 

Deaner,  The  (Oxford  'er).  The 

The  dean  of  a  college  is  the  '  deaner' 
or  the  '  dagger  ',  while  even  this  is  re- 
duced by  some  to  '  the  dag'. — D.  T.,  14th 
August  1899. 

Dear  me  (Soc.,  passed  to  people). 
Exclamation  used  by  the  best  people  ; 
may  be  a  corruption  of  Dio  mio. 
Possibly  introduced  by  Maria  Beatrice 
of  Modena,  second  wife  of  James  II. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  women  do  appeal 
a  good  deal,  and  often  when  they  do  not 
know  it.  What  is  the  meaning  of  '  Dear 
me  '  ?  As  English  it  is  absolutely  mean- 
ingless. It  is  a  mere  phase,  an  expletive, 
until  we  understand  it  as  a  corruption  of 
'  Dio  mio '. 

Or  it  may  be  '  Dieu  mais ',  an  ex- 
clamation which  came  into  use  im- 
mediately after  the  Restoration — in- 
troduced by  one  of  the  French  Court 

Death  on  (Amer.).  Determined, 
even  at  the  risk  of  life. 

Birmingham,  to  use  the  Yankee  verna- 
cular, which  is  well  understood  in  that 
locality,  is  'death  on  '  Woman  Suffrage. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Death  -  promoter  (Amer.,  about 
1880).  An  ominous  synonym  for 
alcoholic  drink.  This  phrase  is  a  very 
fine  instance  of  the  etymological  land- 
marks sometimes  —  perhaps  often — 
afforded  by  passing  English.  Here  is 

seen  subterfugal  conviction  of  the 
danger  of  alcoholic  indulgence,  even 
taking  possession  of  the  intelligence  of 
the  very  patron  of  whiskey  himself. 
Throughout  history  there  is  no  period 
before  the  end  of  the  19th  century 
where  alcohol  is  associated  with  death 
— if  we  except  L'assommoir,  a  cudgel, 
and  used  in  France  to  describe  a 
drinking-bar.  (See  '  Pisen'. ) 

Decadent  (Soc.,  1885  -  90).  A 
synonym  for  degenerate  (noun  and 
adjective),  and  the  antithesis  of 
atavism,  atavistic  (q.v.). 

The  most  extravagant  guesses  were 
made  as  to  its  authorship — the  writer 
having  for  obvious  reasons  cloaked  him- 
self with  anonymity — and  it  was  even 
whispered  that  the  book  came  from  the 
hand  of  a  famous  decadent,  who  '  dropped 
out '  some  time  back. — Sun.  7th  Novem- 
ber 1899. 

Decencies  ( Theatrical).  Pads  used 
by  actors,  as  distinct  from  actresses,  to 
ameliorate  outline. 

Deck  (Gaming).     A  pack  of  cards. 

John  Kernell  tells  of  an  actor  who 
spouted  his  trunk  for  his  board,  claiming 
that  it  contained  fifty-three  pieces.  When 
the  landlady  opened  it  she  found  a  paper 
collar  and  a  deck  of  cards. — Newsp. 

Deck  (Costers' ;  local).  The  Seven 
Dials  (W.  London).  '  He's  a  decker ' 
means  he  lives  in  the  classic  dials. 
(See  Seven  Dials'  Raker.) 

Degenerate  (Soc.,  1899).  A  liber- 
tine (male),  a  woman  of  gallantry 
(female).  Its  antithesis  was  regenerate, 
which  probably  meant  a  return  to  a 
reasonable  life,  and  church  at  least  once 
on  Sunday.  A  play  styled  The  De- 
generates, by  Sydney  Grundy,  with 
Mrs  Langtry  for  lead,  was  set  before 
the  public  in  the  autumn. 

To-night  you  receive — and  receive  most 
hospitably  and  graciously — a  member  of 
the  theatrical  profession.  Whether  your 
taste  in  this  respect  is  better  or  worse 
than  your  father's,  whether  you  are  de- 
generates or  regenerates  I  must  ask 
others  to  decide. — Charles  Wyndham  (at 
Argonaut  Club),  13th  November  1899. 

Degrugfger  (Oxford  '  er ').  A  degree. 

When  you  passed  an  examination  you 
obtained  a  testamur  or  certificate,  which 
was  labelled  a  '  testugger ',  and  thanks 
to  it  you  could  proceed  to  take  a  '  de- 
grugger ',  which  is  Oxford  for  Degree. — 
D.  T.,  14th  August  1899. 

Delo  diam  (Back  slang}.     An  old 
maid  ;  in  common  use. 

Delo  Nammow 

Deuce  o'  Denas 

When  a  bloke's  hard  up  it's  the  delo 
diam  who  is  his  friend.  When  a  poor 
girl  goes  wrong  it  is  the  delo  diam  who 
gives  her  shelter  until  the  kid  is  born. 
Delo  diams  are  angels  on  this  muddy 
earth,  and  if  there  is  a  heaven  delo  diams 
will  take  a  front  seat  there. — Newsp. 
Cutting,  1883. 

Delo  nammow  (Back  slang).  Old 

'  If  he  doesn't  pay  that  delo  nammow 
eighteenpence  for  washing  there  will  be 
a  bankruptcy  at  his  door.'  —  Newsp. 

Delo  nam  o'  the  Barrack  (Thieves'). 
4  Old  man ',  which  is  back  spelling,  and 
'  Master  of  the  house ' — barrack,  used 
for  house ;  probably  being  obtained 
from  soldiers  on  furlough. 

'Delphi  (Theatr.).  Mass  pronoun  - 
ciation  of  '  Adelphi ',  the  great  house, 
through  the  Victorian  era  of  melo- 
drama in  the  Strand.  (See  'Lane. ) 

Demijohn  (Peoples').  Large  mea- 
sure, swingeing  draught.  Probably 
from  a  measure  of  the  time  of  King 
John  ;  e.g.,  '  All  gome — well,  that  was 
a  demijohn,  that  was.'  Johnson  has 
nothing  to  say  about  it. 

Demons  (Austral.).  Old  hands  at 
bushranging ;  derived  from  men  who 
arrive  from  Van  Dieman's  Land  (Tas- 
mania), some  of  whom  are  popularly 
supposed  to  have  inaugurated  bush- 
ranging  in  Australia. 

Den  (Public-house).  A  name  gener- 
ally given  to  a  public-house  frequented 
night  after  night  by  the  same  set,  and 
bestowed  by  them  half-raefully,  half- 

Dennis  (Sailors').  Nothing  except 
below  contempt ;  e.g., '  Hullo,  Dennis  !' 
'  Oh,  I'm  Dennis,  am  I  ? '  Sailors  always 
call  the  '  pig '  Dennis.  This  may  have 
reference  to  a  certain  sister  isle — and  it 
may  not.  (See  Mud. ) 

Derby  (Sporting).  To  pawn.  At  a 
time  when  men  still  were  foolish 
enough  to  take  their  watches  to  races, 
and  especially  the  crowded  Derby, 
they  were  frequently  '  rushed'  (that is, 
*  pushed  at ',  but  passing  language  is 
always  industriously  inclined  to  be 
lazy  enough  to  save  a  word)  for  their 
watches.  This  became  so  common 
that  men  who  pawned  their  watches 
would  say  they  had  been  stolen  on 
the  Derby  or  other  course.  Satirical 
friends  saw  the  point,  and  hence  a  new 
verb  for  '  to  pawn '  was  added  to  the 
countless  stores  of  changing  English. 

Dern  (Amer.).  Another  of  the 
evasive  stages  of  '  damn '. 

'  Never  held  such  derned  hands  in  my 
life.  Beat  the  game,  though.  '—Newsp. 
Cutting.  (SeeD&rn.) 

The  study  of  evaded  swearing  in 
English  may  be  interestingly  compared 
with  the  same  process  in  French.  In 
the  former  the  evasion  is  always  a 
concession  to  religious  thought,  in  the 
latter  it  is  always  an  attack.  For 
instance,  'Sacre  nom  de  Dieu'  has 
fallen  to  '  Ore  nom  de  Chou '.  Any 
one  can  mark  the  sound  similarity  of 
the  final  words — the  pronounciation  of 
'  chou  '  being  something  like  the  mode 
in  which  '  dieu '  is  uttered  by  Alsacians 
and  Auvergnats.  But  how  needless 
is  the  offence  of  calling  the  Almighty 
a  cabbage. 

Desert  (Soc.,  1892  on).  Ladies' 
Club — from  the  absence  of  members. 

Deuce.  Dusius — the  erotic  God  of 
Nightmare,  passing  (15th  century  in 
England)  into  Robin  Goodfellow.  Also 
applied  to  the  four  two's  of  a  pack  of 
cards — here  from  the  French  '  deux ', 
playing  cards  having  arrived  from 
Paris,  precisely  as  the  three  is  called 
'  tray '  —  from  trois.  There  is  no 
association  between  dusius  and  the 
deuce  of  clubs  say,  or  any  other  card 

'  It's  true,  I  admit,  that  women  have 
babies,  but  who  the  dooce  has  to  keep 

t  a  »  * 

em  ? 

The  most  familiar  shape  of  Deuce  is 
Robin  Goodfellow,  whose  pictorial  re- 
presentation has  long  since  been  turned 
out  of  good  society.  If  any  carious 
reader  is  desirous  of  seeing  him  in  his 
habit  as  he  lived,  he  must  be  prepared 
to  pay  him  five  pounds  for  a  copy  of 
Mr  Thomas  Wright's  remarkable  little 
book  upon  Phallic  worship.  Its  study 
will  enable  him  to  comprehend  Shake- 
speare's allusions  to  this  alarming  per- 
sonage— probably  Robin  Goodfiller. 

Deucid  or  Deuced  ( Peoples').  Either 
corruption  of  decided,  or  meaning 
devilish  in  the  more  daily  use  of  that 
word,  as  in  *  He's  a  devilish  good 
fellow '.  In  the  latter  case  it  is  derived 
from  deuce.  George  Eliot,  in  '  Felix 
Holt,'  ch.  17,  makes  it  'deuced'. 
'  He  has  inherited  a  deuced  faculty  for 

Deuce  o'  denas  (Thieves').  From 
deux,  two,  and  dena,  shilling. 

If  you  ask  them  to  lend  you  a  deuce  o' 


Deuce  take  You 


denas,   very  likely  you  won't  get  it. — 
Newsp   Cutting. 

Deuce  take  you  (National).  Ejacu- 
lation desiring  that  Satan  may  fly 
away  with  you.  Sometimes  imper- 
sonal— '  Deuce  take  it.'  From  Dusius 
— Dusii. 

*  They  were  in  fact  the  fauns  and 
satyrs  of  antiquity,  haunting,  as  they 
did,  the  wild  woods.  As  incubi  they 
visited  houses  at  night.  They  made 
their  presence  known  as  nightmare. 
They  were  known  at  an  early  period  in 
Gaul  by  the  name  of  dusii,  from  which, 
as  the  church  taught  that  all  these 
mythic  personages  were  devils,  we 
derive  our  modern  word  deuce  used  in 
auch  phrases  as  "  Deuce  take  you  !  "  ' — 
R.  Payne  Knight,  Worship  of  Priapus. 

Devil  doubt  you,  The  (Peoples'). 
Very  commonly  used  in  this  form,  but 
in  full,  'I  don't'  is  added.  Used  to 
concede  a  violent  assertion  on  the  other 
side.  '  I'm  a  scorcher,  I  am,'  to  which 
the  reply  would  be,  '  The  devil  doubt 
you — /  don't ; '  probably  from  the  time 
when  compliments  were  still  passed  to 
Satan  on  the  Persian  plan.  Means 
'  I  am  not  clever  enough  to  dispute 
your  theory ;  it  requires  one  as  clever 
as  Satan  to  question  your  assertion.' 
Probably  the  most  familiar  oath,  if  it 
is  an  oath,  in  the  English  language. 

Devil's  dinner  hour  (Artisani). 
Midnight,  the  hour  for  all  Satanic 
revels.  Said  in  reference  to  working 

Devil's  luck  and  my  own  (Peoples'). 
No  luck  whatever.  The  demon  having 
been  lamed  early  in  life,  and  frequently 
cheated  of  his  prey,  even  of  the  Fausts 
of  this  world,  his  luck  is  not  extensive  ; 
e.g.,  'Getting  on?  Bless  me  no;  I've 
the  devil's  luck,  and  my  own  too. 
When  I  pay  my  way  I  fancy  I'm  some- 
body else.' 

Devonshire  compliment  ( W. 
Country ',  except  Devonshire).  Doubtful 
politeness  ;  e.g.,  'Do  'ee  'ave  this  cup 
o'  tea  in  the  pot ;  'full  on'y  be  thrawed 
away  ! ' 

Dew  o'  Ben  Nevis  (Lond.  and 
Edin.  Taverns).  A  fortunate  name 
discovered  by  a  Scotch  distiller  to  dis- 
tinguish his  whiskey.  '  Dew '  was 
poetic,  and  '  Ben  Nevis '  was  already 
in  thf  heart  of  the  Scotch  customer. 
The  name  is  now  used  in  place  of  the 
word  whiskey,  much  like  'Guinness' 
for  stout,  '  Alsopp '  and  '  Burton  '  for 

ale,  and  '  Kinahan '  for  Irish  whiskey. 
'  Twa  o'  bennevis '  (the  '  e '  pronounced 
short)  is  a  common  request,  always 
complied  with  in  the  hard-working 
land  o'  cakes. 

Dick's  hat -band  (Peoples',  pro- 
vincial). A  makeshift.  The  hat-band 
in  general  use,  even  in  Mr  Weller's 
time  of  widowhood,  was  a  portentous 
sweep  of  crape,  draped  and  bowed 
behind.  It  slipped  into  a  band  of 
cloth  on  the  hat,  and  has  now  passed 
to  the  arm  as  a  strip,  in  imitation  of 
the  mourning  worn  by  the  late  Queen's 
servants  for  the  Prince  Consort.  Who 
was  Dick?  'Tis  all  that  remains  of 
him.  '  What  be  that,  gammer — that 
bean't  a  bonnet?'  'No,  bless  thee, 
'tis  a  Dick's  hat-band. ' 

Dicky,  Dickey  (Peoples').  Very 
doubtful ;  e.g.,  '  It's  Dickey,  ain't  it  ? ' 
Origin  obscure.  May  refer  to  Richard 
III.  as  conquered.  A  courtier  of 
Henry  VII.  may  have  started  the 
phrase  as  a  flattery  to  the  Conqueror. 

The  columbine  was  less  fortunate  in  his 
opinion.  '  She's  werry  dicky  ;  ain't  got 
what  I  call  "  move"  about  her.' — Green- 
wood's Night  in  a  Workhouse. 

Die  in  a  horse's  night -cap 
(Thieves').  To  die  in  a  halter.  Sup- 
posed to  be  very  brilliant  satire. 

Die  Dunghill  (Sporting,  18  cent.). 
Said  of  a  cock  that  would  not  fight — 
and  applied  to  human  curs ;  e.g., 
'I  never  die  dunghill— always  p;ame.' 
In  our  days  the  term  has  changed  to 
'  die  on  a  dunghill ',  meaning  the  per- 
son spoken  of  will  have  no  home  in 
which  to  die. 

Diff  (Soc.).  Abbreviation  of  'dif- 
ferences', e.g.,  'No — it  is  not  I  love 
her — she  loves  me. — That's  the  diff.' 

Probably  came  from  the  Stock  Ex- 
change, the  birthplace  of  so  much 
passing  English. 

There  is  a  great  diff  between  a  dona 
and  a  mush.  You  can  shut  up  a  mush 
(umbrella)  sometimes. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Diffs  (Theatr.).  A  euphemistic  ab- 
breviation of  '  difficulties',  cruelly  com- 
mon with  lessees  until  the  prince, 
about  1870,  completely  brought  the 
theatre  into  fashion. 

Diffs  (Vulgar).  Abbreviation  of 
'  difficulties '.  '  For  gentlemen  in  diffi- 
culties arrested  in  the  county  of  Surrey 
there  was  a  single  spunging-house  in 
a  street  somewhere  off  the  Blackfriars 




Road.  I  remember  visiting  a  friend 
there  once,  who  told  me  that  the 
apartments  were  extremely  comfort- 
able. The  sheriffs  officer  was  an  ac- 
complished whist  player,  and  he  had  a 
musical  daughter  who  used  to  play  and 
sing  to  the  gentleman  in  "diffs".' — 
G.  A.  Sala,  Fifa  and  Ca  Sa,  in  T.  D.} 
15th  August  1893. 

Dig  (Mid.  Class,  Elegant).  Abbrevia- 
tion of  'dignity';  e.g.,  'So  I  stood  upon 
my  dig,  and  told  him  his  room  was 
nicer  than  his  company.'  Sometimes 
1  otium  dig '  (from  '  otium  cum  dig- 
nitate ' ;  e.g. ,  *  Come  and  see  me  in  my 
summer-house ;  there  I  am  in  my 
otium  dig.' 

Dig  me  out  (Soc.t  1860).  I.e.,  call 
for  me  ;  tear  me  from  lazy  loafing  in 
the  house. 

Digger  (Milit.).  The  guard-room. 
Short  for  '  Damned  guard-room'. 

Digs.  Short  for 'diggings'.  Austra- 
lian for  lodgings,  from  the  time  when 
gold  miners  lived  on  their  claims,  or 
diggings.  In  co  tnrnon  use  by  theatrical 
touring  companies. 

The  strolling  'mummers '  have  alighted 
from  a  cheap  excursion  train,  and  are 
imbibing  hot  whisky  and  water  before 
commencing  their  chilly  exploration  of 
the  quiet  little  country  town  in  search  of 
'digs'.—  D.  T.,  23rd  March  1898. 

Dill  (Chemists').  A  disguised  title 
for  water— no  such  simple  liquor  as 
mere  water  being  named  before  the 
public.  '  Dill '  sounds  more  medicinal 
than  dill  water.  The  word  is  a 
liquidising  of  'distilled  water'. 

Dilly-dally  (Peoples').  Hesitative. 
An  equivalent  of  shilly-shally,  both 
generally  used  as  an  attack  upon  the 
spoonery  of  lovers.  Probably  rhymed 
from  the  latter. 

Dimber-damber  (Street).  Smart, 
active,  adroit.  One  of  the  alliterative 
phrases  with  no  absolute  meaning — a 
false  onomatope.  Namby-pamby  and 
nimmeny-pimmeny  are  on  similar  lines. 
He  is  a  bit  dimber-damber,  and  up  to 
everything  on  the  carpet.  —  Newsp. 

Dime  Museum  ( Freak  Show,  applied 
to  theatres,  1884).  A  common  show — 
poor  piece.  From  New  York,  which 
has  a  passion  for  monstrosity  displays, 
called  Dime  Museums — the  dime  being 
the  eighth  of  a  dollar. 

Dimensions,  To  take  (Police).  To 
obtain  information. 

I  said,  '  Are  you  sure  ? '  and  he  said, 
'  Yes  ;  she's  been  murdered  in  a  railway 
carriage.'  At  eleven  that  same  night 
Sergeant  Cox  came  to  the  house  and 
took  'dimensions'. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dinah  (Com.  London).  A  favourite 
woman;  e.g.,  'Id  Mary  your  Dinah?' 
Corruption  of  '  dona '. 

Dipping  ( Thieves').  Picking  pockets 
— literally  dipping. 

Mr  Selfe :  What  is  meant  by  'dipping'? 
The  policeman :  It's  the  last  new  word 
— it   means   picking    pockets.  —  Newsp. 

Dirt  Road  (Amer.).  The  highway, 
as  distinct  from  the  railroad,  which  is 
gravelled.  Probably  railway  official 

His  Honour  talked  to  him  in  a  fatherly 
way,  and  told  him  to  start  for  home  by  the 
dirt  road,  and  David  went  out. — Newsp. 

Dirty  Half-Hundred  (Milit.—  O.S.). 
50th  Regiment. 

The  gallant '  Fiftieth, '  otherwise  known 
as  the  '  Dirty  Half -Hundred, '  a  regiment 
with  a  splendid  record,  retains  its  title  as 
'The  Queen's  Own',  with  a  local  habita- 
tion in  West  Kent.— D.  N.,  July  1881. 

Disagreeable  Bore  (Soc.).  The 
antithesis  of  Agreeable  Rattle. 

Discommons  ( University).  To  boy- 
cott, send  to  Coventry,  exclude. 

A  man  is  supposed,  on  leaving  school 
and  going  to  college,  to  be  learning  to 
take  care  of  himself.  Except  by  '  dis- 
cominonsing '  dishonest  tradesmen,  a 
form  of  permitted  Boycotting  which 
might  be  more  widely  exerted,  we  fail  to 
see  how  the  Heads  of  Houses  are  to  make 
extravagant  young  fellows  careful. — 
D.  N.,  20th  March  1885. 

Disguised  (Soc.).  One  of  the 
numerous  evasive  synonyms  for 
*  drunk '. 

Most  of  Bob  Prudhpe's  customers  are 
noblemen  disguised — in  liquor. — Newsp. 

Bob  was  a  very  handsome  and  dashing 
licensed  victualler  in  the  '  neck  of  the 
Strand',  between  St  Mary's  and  St 
Clement  Danes — long  since  demolished. 
Disguised  Public-House  (Polit., 
1886).  Workmen's  political  clubs. 
First  used  in  the  House  of  Commons  ; 
e.g.,  '  Call  it  a  club  if  you  like — this  is 
a  free  country — but  it's  an  after  12.30 
p.m.  public,  and  nothing  else.' 

Dish  (Parliamentary).  To  over- 
come, to  distance — figuratively,  to  pre- 
sent the  enemy  trussed  in  a  dish,  dis- 
played before  the  conquerors  and  the 


Dismember  for  Great  Britain 


It  is  alleged  that  Liberals  have  stolen 
a  march  upon  the  Conservatives,  that 
non-political  candidates  have  turned  out 
to  be  Radicals  in  disguise,  and,  in  short, 
that  the  Tories  have  been  dished. — 
D.  T. 

The  Whigs  had  been  dished,  to  use 
the  historic  phrase  of  the  great  Lord 
Derby.—  D.  T.,  20th  May  1899.  (See 
Dash  my  Wig.) 

Dismember  for  Great  Britain  (Soc. 
1886).  The  last  political  nickname 
given  to  Gladstone.  About  the  time 
of  the  Home  Rule  Bill. 

They  used  to  call  him  the  Member  for 
Midlothian.  Now  they  call  him  'the 
Dismember  for  Great  Britain.' — Ref., 
18th  April  1886. 

Distinct(ly)  (Society,  1880).  Thor- 
ough(ly).  The  use  of  this  word  in  this 
sense  in  many  cases  became  a  mania. 
'He  is  a  distinct  fool.'  ' She  is  a  dis- 
tinct fraud.'  *  They  are  distinctly  in 
the  wrong.' 

Ditch,  the  (Local Lond.,  1850).  Ab- 
breviation of  Shoreditch,  one  of  the 
chief  eastern  thoroughfares  of  London. 

The  Ditch  is  the  oldest  village  in 
London.  A  bloke  named  Shore  hung 
out  there  once.  His  missus  went  wrong 
with  a  King.  When  the  King  snuffed  it 
the  dona  had  to  walk  through  the  streets 
in  her  nightgown.  She  died  in  a  ditch 
did  Jane.  Hence  the  name  Shoreditch. 
—Gutting,  1883. 

A.  frequenter  of  the  Ditch  is  a 

Ditch  (Anglo- Amer.).  The  Atlantic. 
A  playful  allusion  toitsimmense  width 
(See  Herring  Pond.) 

Ditch  and  Chapel  (E.London,  street). 
An  abbreviation  of  Shoreditch  and  of 

You  only  know  me,  maties,  in  Ditch 
parlours  and  Chapel  bagatelle  rooms. — 
Cutting,  1883. 

Ditched  (Anglo- Amer,}.  Off  the 
highway  ;  halted.  Accepted  by  the 
States  from  old  coaching  days. 

A  portion  of  Doris's  Inter  -  oceanic 
circus  was  ditched  on  Friday  on  the 
Missouri  Pacific  Railroad,  near  Boone- 
ville,  Mo. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Now  figuratively  used  ;  e.g.,  1 1  was 
ditched  completely,  and  did  not  know 
what  to  say.' 

Ditto,  Brother  Smut  (Peoples'). 
Your  tongue  is  as  coarse  as  you  say 
mine  is.  Probably  from  chimney- 

Dive  (Amer.  Eng.).  An  underground 
drinkingbar.  Reached  England  through 

Liverpool — from  'diving under  to  reach 
it'.  Equivalent  to  the  lost  London 
word  '  Shades' — from  the  underground 
darkness  of  these  resorts.  The  last 
'  shades '  were  in  Leicester  Square. 
The  first  dive  is  scarcely  more  than  a 
gun-shot  away  in  Piccadilly. 

In  many  places  (U.S.A.),  especially  in 
the  cities,  the  existence  of  the  law  makes 
no  real  difference  ;  in  some  few,  by  fits 
and  starts,  it  is  rigidly  enforced,  and 
the  consequence  is  that  the  drinking  is 
driven  underground,  into  what  they 
variously  call  '  dives ',  '  speak  easies ',  and 
'  kitchen  bar  room '  in  the  North  ;  and 
'  blind  pigs '  and  '  blind  tigers '  in  the 
South.  The  liquor  sold  deteriorates  at 
the  same  time.  Little  but  spirits  is  dealt 
in,  and  much  of  it  is  of  the  vilest  quality. 
— G.  A.  Sala,  D.  T.,  25th  October  1893. 

A  grand  entrance  takes  the  place  of 
the  tavern,  which  is  relegated  to  '  down 
below,' and  is  called  a  'dive'. — Ref.,  10th 
May  1885. 

Diver  (Thieves').  A  pickpocket — 
obviously  from  diving  the  hand  down 
into  others'  pockets. 

Divine  punishment  (Naval).  Divine 

Jack  has  little  faith,  and  does  not 
know,  perhaps  cares  little,  what  to 
believe  ;  and  as  to  worship,  it  has  long 
been  known  in  the  forecastle  as  '  divine 
punishment '. — Newsp.  Gutting,  1869. 

Diviners,  or  Dimers(0xfprd  Univ.). 
Reduction  in  Oxford  '  er '  of  the  Divin- 
ity Examination,  which  replaced  the 
Rudiments  of  Faith  and  Religion. 

Dixie  (Polit.  Amer.).  The  pet  name 
given  to  the  South,  or  Dixie-land.  A 
popular  negro  song  went,  *  I  wish  I  was 
in  Dixie',  that  is  to  say,  '  In  heaven'. 

Dizzy  Age  (Soc.  of  a  kind,  19  cent.). 
Elderly.  Makes  the  spectator  giddy 
to  think  of  the  victim's  years — gene- 
rally those  of  a  maiden  or  other  woman 
canvassed  by  other  maiden  ladies — or 
others,  e.g.,  '  Poor  dear  ;  but  though 
she  is  really  very  well,  especially  at  a 
distance,  on  a  dull  day,  she  must  be, 
the  dove,  quite  a  dizzy  age.' 

Dizzy  flat  (Chicago).  A  fool  whose 
foolery  makes  the  hearer  giddy. 

Do  (Peoples').  In  one  capacity,  as  a 
neuter  verb,  praiseful,  as  '  He'll  do'. 
Convert  it  into  an  active  verb,  '  He'll 
do  you',  and  it  becomes  the  most  em- 
phatic possible  warning  against  a  cheat. 
Rare  instance  of  one  word  serving  two 
distinctly  opposite  purposes.  To  'do', 
as  meaning  to  fight  and  conquer,  has 



Do  Oneself  Well 

quite  passed  into  common  English  life. 
'  I  got  done  in  three  rounds ',  simply 
means  that  the  speaker  cried  V(K  metis 
after  he  had  been  grounded  for  the 
third  time.  A  serio-comic  singer,  Bessie 
Bellwood,  turned  this  word  to  great 
account  while  singing  a  song  as  a  girl 
who  boasts  of  her  prowess,  saying — 
'  Yoho,  you  come  down  our  court.  If 
I  can't  do  yer,  me  and  my  sister 
Jemima  'ull  do  yer  proper,' — proper  in 
this  case  meaning  completely. 

Finally,  this  (the  emphatic  auxiliary 
verb  of  the  eight  auxiliary  verbs)  is 
used  to  describe  murder. 

Her  ladyship  replied :  '  The  two  men 
have  been  trying  to  do  for  me.' — Lady 
Florence  Dixie,  concerning  an  armed 
attack  upon  her,  1883. 

Quite  classic  in  the  criminal  division 
of  Irish  society,  and  is  even  used  to  ex- 
press— hanging  by  law. 

'  What  sort  of  a  do  did  Walsh  get?' 
Asked  by  Patrick  Joyce,  the  principal 
assassin  in  an  agrarian  outrage,  when 
almost  a  whole  family  were  swept  away 
(Nov.  1882).  He  asked  this  question 
of  a  jailer  immediately  after  he  had 
been  condemned  to  death.  Walsh  had 
some  time  previously  been  hanged  at 

Arthur  Chewster,  of  Boston,  U.S.,  was 
committed  for  trial  from  the  West  Ham 
Police  Court  on  Saturday  for  severely 
wounding  a  labourer  at  Walthamstow 
with  a  bowie-knife.  The  prisoner  in- 
formed the  police  that  he  was  an  Irish- 
American,  and  meant  'to  do '  for  all 
Englishmen.—  Globe,  5th  October  1885. 

In  Lancashire  is  used  to  express  suf- 
fering ;  e.g.,  '  I've  had  a  severe  do  this 
time — bronchitis,  three  weeks  in  bed.' 
Amongst  thieves  to  *  do '  is  to  serve 
a  term  of  imprisonment. 

In  middle-class  life  'do'  represents 
a  joke,  as,  '  What  a  do  ! ' 

Chiefly  applied  to  cheating,  as — '  I 
was  done  Brown' — that  is,  completely 

Carlyle's  favourite  Cockney,  who 
affirmed  that  every  lottery  had  '  a  do  at 
the  bottom  of  it',  would  find  his  rather 
cynical  view  of  the  gambling  world 
strengthened  by  a  case  heard  at  the 
Guildhall  Police  Court.  —  Z>.  JV.,  25th 
May  1885. 

Judge :  Will  you  speak  to  what  you 
know  of  the  morality  of  Mr  Doulton  ?— 
Well,  I  will  only  say  that  he  has  '  done  ' 
me  out  of  my  money.  (The  word  'done' 
aroused  the  curiosity  of  the  C  ourt,  and 


the  witness  said,  emphatically,  'Well, 
then,  robbed  me  of  my  money.' — Newsp. 

Do  again  (Navy).  Contemptuous 
reference  to  some  one  who  never 
achieved  much.  Generally  applied  to 
marines,  who,  being  neither  enrolled 
sailors  nor  soldiers,  are  the  '  buffers  of 
both,  and  get  pressed  hard'. 

'  Pick  him  up  and  pipeclay  him  and 
he'll  do  again.' — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Do  a  bunk  (Public  School).  To  re- 
tire with  precaution. 

Do  a  bust  (Thieves').  To  burst  a 
house  open ;  burglary. 

Eedfern  and  his  mate  told  him  they 
were  'going  to  do  a  bust',  meaning  a 
robbery.—  D.  T.,  14th  December  1897. 

Do  a  Dutch  (prob.  Amer.  Knicker- 
bocker). To  remove  one's  furniture 
without  the  preliminary  of  paying  the 
rent  due. 

The  Spitkinses  did  a  Dutch  with  all 
their  stock  just  before  quarter-day. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Do  a  moan  (Navy).  To  growl. 
Moans  are  of  frequent  occurrence. 

Do  a  smile  (Amer.,  1860  on).  To 
take  a  drink.  Now  rarely  heard. 

Do  a  stamp  (Amer.,  passing  to  Eng- 
land). To  go  for  a  walk. 

Do  him  a  treat  (Pugilistic).  To  give 
him  a  thrashing. 

'  He's  a  gee-gee  of  another  colour. 
Whoa,  my  rorty  pals,  he's  a  hot  'un, 
though  some  of  you  can  do  him  a  treat 
when  he  gets  a  trifle  cheeky/ — Cutting. 

Do  in  (Sport,  1886  on).  To  adven- 
ture, bet,  plank  down,  etc. 

I  am  utterly  unable  to  understand  the 
unhealthy  state  of  mind  of  a  young 
fellow  of  one  or  two  and  twenty  who  in 
little  more  than  a  twelvemonth  loses 
between  three  and  four  hundred 
thousand  pounds,  and  who  now  rushes 
to  'do  in '  every  spare  fiver  or  tenner 
that  comes  into  his  possession. — Ref., 
19th  May  1889. 

Do  one's  bit  ( Thieves').  To  carry  out 
one's  enforced  contract  as  a  felon  with 
the  Government. 

It  is  not  easy  to  persuade  a  wealthy 
employer  who  can  buy  what  labour  he 
requires  in  the  cheapest  and  best  market 
to  take  a  man  who  has  '  done  his  bit'  in  a 
correctional  institution. — Neicsp.  Cutting. 

Do  oneself  well  (Colloquial,  1881). 
To  make  an  effort  to  succeed  in  life. 

He  was  heard  to  remark  to  the  lady  of 
the  house,  in  confidence,  that  this  was 
what  he  appreciated,  that  he  adored 

Do  over  for 

Dr  Jim 

domesticity  and  46,  and  that  he  intended 
to  do  himself  well. — Newsp.  Cutting, 
3rd  February  1883. 

Do  over  for  (Low  London).  To  ex- 
tract money  by  flattery  or  threats. 

When  they  comes  back,  Selby  says  to 
me,  '  All  J  could  do  him  over  for  was  a 
couple  of  bob.' — People,  6th  January  1895. 

Do  the  aqua  (Public-house}.  To  put 
in  the  water,  as  '  Jo,  do  the  aqua ',  and 
Joe  pours  the  water  into  the  held-out 
glass,  observing  '  Say  when  !'  '  When', 
says  the  other — at  the  point  he  con- 
siders the  dilution  absolute. 

Do  the  graceful  (Peoples').  A  para- 
phrase: to  fascinate,  to  charm  by 
elegance  of  attention  or  behaviour. 

On  Saturday  last,  on  the  occasion  of 
the  300th  performance  of  lolanthe,  D'Oyly 
Carte  did  the  graceful  by  presenting 
every  lady  visitor  with  a  choice  bouquet. 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Do  to  rights  (Lower  Classes).  To 
effect  perfectly ;  achieve  quite  satis- 
factorily. Has  shades  of  meaning. 
'  Did  me  to  rights.'  May  be  said  eulo- 
gistically  of  a  meal.  '  I'll  do  you  to 
rights '  may  be  a  promise  of  high  de- 
light, but  it  may  mean,  when  addressed 
to  a  man,  that  the  addressee  will  be 
thrashed  awfully  by  the  speaker. 

Do  ut  Des  (Soc.,  1883).  Selfish 
people  whose  philosophy  is  '  I  give ' 
that  thou  '  mayest  give '. 

THE  '  Do  UT  DBS  '  AT  HOME  :  Since  the 
time  of  Bismarck's  famous  'do  ut  des' 
policy,  we  have  known  that  the  statesmen 
of  the  Fatherland  are  not  inclined  to 
give  favours  for  nothing. — D.  T.,  29th 
December  1900.  (See  Doddies.) 

Do  yer  feel  like  that?  (Lower 
Classes).  Addressed  to  a  person  gener- 
ally lazy  who  is  being  industrious,  or 
who  is  doing  some  unusual  work.  Used 

Do  you  know?  (Peoples').  The 
history  of  this  initial  phrase  is  very 
odd.  'it  was  first  heard  in  the  East  of 
London,  used  by  a  popular  preacher 
who  often  preached  colloquially  in  the 
streets,  and  whose  voice  had  very  droll 
chan  ges  in  it.  The  phrase  spread  (1883) 
over  the  East  district,  and  reached 
the  West  towards  the  end  of  the  year. 
It  became  public  early  in  1884  through 
its  adoption  by  Mr  Beerbohm  Tree,  in 
The  Private  Secretary.  The  piece  was 
soon  removed  to  the  Globe  when  Mr 
Tree's  part  was  taken  by  Mr  Penley, 
who  made  the  phrase  more  marked 

still  throughout  the  year.  It  helped 
to  make  the  piece  popular.  The  oddity 
of  the  phrase  was  got  out  of  its  strange 
musical  character.. 

The  '  Do '  was  used  short,  as  a  grace 
note.  Then  followed  the  '  you '  a  third 
higher,  and  held  about  an  ordinary 
crotchet's  length.  The  'know'  was 
then  taken  a  sixth  below  the  'you'. 
The  whole  had  a  most  droll  effect.  Mr 
Penley  began  on  the  middle  A,  rose  to 
C,  and  fell  to  E.  The  phrase  was  in 
common  use  in  all  stages  of  society. 
It  went  to  America. 

The  Secretary  has  little  more  to  say 
than  '  Do  you  know',  which  is  delivered 
in  amazingly  sepulchral  tones,  and  which 
is  likely  to  become  a  '  gag '  expression  on 
the  street.—^.  Y.  Mercury,  1884. 

Do  you  savey  ?  (Naif -society,  1840). 
Mongrel  French — Savez-vous? 

'  All  right — I  shall  savey  in  a  minute. ' 

'  I  couldn't  savey  that  in  a  month.' 

Do  you  to  Wain -rights  (Lower 
classes,  c.  1874).  Intensification  of 
'  Do  you  to  rights,'  by  introduction  of 
the  name  of  a  more  than  usually  notori- 
ous murderer,  one  Wainwright.  (See 
Wainwright  you.)  The  phrase  was 
used  by  men  to  women,  meaning  a 
threat  of  murder,  sometimes  used  quite 
earnestly.  Wainwright  had  killed  a 
mistress  who  troubled  him  very  much. 
Phrase  still  heard  in  East  London, 
where  the  crime  was  committed. 

Doc  (Amer. ).     Short  for  doctor. 

1  Now,  doc,  I  want  you  to  tell  me  the 
worst.  Is  she  dangerous?'  The  doc 
said  it  was  not  his  nature  unnecessarily  to 
frighten  any  one,  but  he  said  doctors 
often  had  a  duty  to  perform  that  they 
would  prefer  to  transfer  to  other 
shoulders. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Doctor  Brighton  (Soc.,  19  cent.). 
Brighton :  said  to  be  the  invention  of 
George  IV.  ;  one  of  his  few  small 

'Doctor  Brighton'  is  the  prince  of 
fashionable  physicians,  and  does  not  dose 
his  patients  with  nasty  physic.  The 
'Doctor'  has  a  pleasant  face  and  an 
agreeable  manner  at  all  times. — D.  T., 
13th  August  1885. 

Dr  Jim  (Peoples',  1896).  A  soft  felt 
hat,  with  wide  brim.  When  soft  felt  hats 
began  (1895)  to  overcome  the  eternal 
hard  black  or  brown  'uu  bowler,  they 
obtained  several  names  of  little  account, 
the  quotation  of  which  was  more  hon- 
oured in  the  breach  than  the  observance. 


Do  Without 

Doing  the  Bear 

Upon  the  arrival,  late  in  1896,  of  Dr 
Jameson  from  the  Transvaal,  the  wide 
rim  of  his  soft  Africander  felt  was  at 
once  accepted.  For  some  weeks  these 
models  were  called  Jemmysons,  but 
the  hero  in  question  becoming  more 
popular  as  Dr  Jim,  the  wide  soft  felter 
became  a  Dr  Jim — very  soon  reduced  to 
Jimmunt,  sometimes  a  Jimkwim — the 
outcome  of  a  coalescing  between  the 
earlier  and  later  titles. 

Do  without  (Yorkshire).  To  dis- 
like. A  Yorkshire  man  is  generally 
too  cautious  to  say  he  hates  a  man. 
He  circumambulates,  and  says,  'Eh, 
ah  could  do  wi'out  him.'  (See  Nice 
place  to  live  out  of. ) 

Dod  rabbit  it  (Amer.).  In  Charles 
II. 's  time  it  was  God  rebate  (assuage) 
it.  This  passed  finally  in  England 
into  'Od  rabbit  it'.  Going  over  to 
America  the  phrase  was  there  further 

Doddies  (Peoples')  Corruption  of 
Do  ut  des  ;  reduction  of  Doddies-man  ; 
e.g.,  'E's  a  doddies — give  a  sprat  to 
catch  a  herring  any  day  in  the  week, 
and  any  hour.' 

Dodo  (Amer.,  beginning  to  be 
known  in  England).  A  human  fossil, 
a  man  who  clings  to  the  past,  and  con- 
demns future  days  and  present — a 
ganache,  to  use  a  French  term. 

Dodo  (Press,  1885).  Scotland  Yard 
— figuratively  to  express  that  the  metro- 
politan police  were  fossil  in  their 

The  old  dodo  at  Scotland  Yard,  roused 

into  a  state  of  feverish  activity  by  the 
comments  of  the  press  and  the  public  on 
the  failure  of  Monday,  yesterday  con- 
verted itself  by  a  tremendous  effort  into 
a  gigantic  turkey-cock,  or,  to  use  the 
much  more  expressive  Scotch  word,  a 
great  bubbly-jock— which  strutted  and 
rattled  and  stamped  and  made  its 
guttural  gobble  all  over  the  metropolis 
yesterday,  with  the  most  alarming  result. 
— Pall  Mall  Gaz.,  llth  February  1886. 

Dodrottedest  (Amer.,  1883).  An 
example  of  evasive  swearing. 

The  Apaches  war  well  mounted,  and  I 
recko'nized  the  leader  as  a  feller  they 
called  Chief  Billy,  the  dodrottedest  thief 
and  cut-throat  that  ever  pestered  a  com- 
munity.— Newsp.  Gutting. 

Doesn't  give  much  away  (Peoples', 

80).  Yields  few  or  no  advantages — 
seizes  all  chances.  Very  cogent,  and 
full  of  folk-keenness. 


Edgar,  who  doesn't  give  much  away, 
arranges  to  have  Rayne  drugged  with  a 
wonderful  potion,  two  drops  of  which  will 
make  a  man  silly  for  the  time  being.— 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dog  (Peoples').  Clever,  cheery, 
hearty  fellow— age  not  considered. 
Derived  from  the  active,  cheerful 
nature  of  dogs  in  general. 

An  Irishman  has  always  been  '  a  dog 
at  a  ballad',  as  a  Shakespearian  character 
(oddly  anticipating  modern  slang)  calls 
himself  'a  dog  at  a  catch'. — D.  N. 

Dog-cheap  (Peoples').  Very  cheap. 
Who  or  what  was  the  dog  ?  Certainly 
not  canine,  for  the  word  would  not  be 
apposite — cat-cheap  would  be  nearer 
the  mark.  Probably  a  pedlar,  whose 
name  might  be  Diggory,  abbreviation 
to  dig,  and  thence  dog — '  I  bought  it 
dog-cheap'.  Johnson,  who  was  cruelly 
puzzled  by  some  of  the  compounds  in 
'dog',  says,  'dog  and  cheap — cheap 
as  dog's  meat;  cheap  as  the  offal 
bought  for  dogs.'  Dryden  uses  the 
word — 'Good  store  of  harlots,  say 
you  ?  and  dog-cheap  ? ' 

Dog -gone  (Peoples').  Devoted  ; 
from  the  pertinacious  devotion  of  the 
doggie.  In  U.S.A.  it  is  an  evasion  of 
'  God  damn '. 

Dog  my  cats  (Amer.).  An  example 
of  concealed  swearing — God  damn  my 

Dog  my  cats  if  she  didn't  make  a  nest 
of  it  and  set  three  weeks  on  the  buttons  ! 
— Newsp.  Gutting. 

Dog's  legs  (Soldiers').  The  chevron, 
designating  non  -  commissioned  rank, 
worn  on  the  arm,  and  not  unlike  in 
outline  to  the  canine  hindleg. 

Doggie  (Milit.,  1850).  Officer's 
servant,  especially  cavalry.  The  in- 
crease of  education  amongst  the  men 
has  swept  the  term  away.  Men  were 
proud  of  it  iu  times  when  officers  and 
their  servants  were  more  familiar  than 
at  present. 

Doggie  (London  Youths').  All-round 
upright  collar.  (See  Sepulchres, 
Poultice,  Shakespeare  navels. ) 

Doing  (Peoples').  A  thrashing ;  e.g. , 
'  I'll  give  'im  a  doin' — which  'e  won't 
see  out  of  'i*  eyes  for  a  fair  week  after 
I've  done  'im  over.' 

'  I've  had  a  bad  doing  this  week — 
lost  thirty  quid.' 

Doing  the  bear  (Span.- Amer.,  pass- 
ing over  U.S.).  Courting  which  in- 
volves hugging. 


Don't  Seem 

Courtship  is  carried  on  in  a  most  extra- 
ordinary manner  in  Mexico.  The  part  a 
man  plays  in  a  courtship  is  called  '  doing 
the  bear',  which  is  a  translation  of 
'hacer  el  oso'.  It  is  quite  a  common 
expression  in  Mexico  to  say :  'I  am  doing 
the  bear  to  Miss  So-and-so ' ;  or  for  the 
girl  to  say :  '  That  young  man  is  doing 
the  bear  to  me.' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dol  (Peoples').  Abbreviation  of 

Dollars  to  buttons  (Anglo- Amer.). 
A  sure  bet. 

'  She  has  got  to  put  those  clothes  on, 
and  she  feels  that  it  is  dollars  to  buttons 
that  when  she  picks  up  an  under-garment 
from  the  floor  by  the  table  leg,  that  she 
will  be  blown  through  the  roof.' — Newsp. 

(See  Million  to  a  bit  of  dirt.) 

Dolly  mop  (Peoples').  An  over- 
dressed servant  girl.  Probably  a  form 
of  Dollabella  and  Mopsa,  both  names 
used  in  18th  century  for  weak,  over- 
dre*sed,  slovenly  women. 

Dolly  worship  (Nonconformist).  The 
Roman  Catholic  religion.  From  the 
use  of  statues,  etc. 

Dominoes  (Tavern).  The  teeth, 
when  bad  and  yellow.  When  white, 
they  are  ivories. 

Don  Caesar  spouting  (Soc.,  1850 
on).  Haughty  public  elocution — 
espesially  after  dinner.  Probably  a 
satirical  combination  of  '  the  Don ' — a 
memory  of  Mary  Tudor's  husband,  and 

Dona  Highland  Flingers  (Rhyming 
— Music  Hall  Singers).  One  of  the 
names  of  the  serio-comic— generally 
one  who  sings  or  flings  high  notes — 
hence  the  term.  '  Many  a  dona  High- 
land Flinger  gets  nailed  when  she 
thinks  .she  marries  a  toff,  and  finds 
out  that  he's  a  bad  egg. 

Dona  Jack  (Lower  Glasses).  Lowest 
description  of  Jack — man  who  lives  on 
the  dona,  a  man  who  preys  upon  men 
of  all  designations. 

Done  (Texas).  Completely.  Done 
is  the  commonest  of  adjectives  ;  e.g., 
1  We  are  done  tired ' ; 

'  The  kitchen  is  done  swept ' ; 
'  The  baby  is  done  woke  up.' 

Done  Fairly  (Sporting,  1860).  Com- 
pletely cheated. 

Fairlie  has  taken  the  Novelty  Theatre. 
Let's  hope  that  nobody  will  be  able  to 
say  he's  done  Fairlie. — Cutting. 

Donkey's  breakfast  (London,  1893 
on).  A  man's  straw  hat.  Satiric 

reference — a  protest  against  the  then 
new  fashion,  with  suggestion  as  to  the 
wearer.  Died  out  as  the  century  wore 
to  an  end.  '  Which  when  a  gent  puts 
a  donkey's  breakfast  a-top  of  his  nut — 
he  wants  jollying.'  It  took  several 
years  for  the  streets  to  accept  the 
straw  hat.  Even  now  it  is  far  from 

Donny brook  (Anglo-Irish).  Riot, 
disturbance,  down  to  a  shrew's 
squabble.  Applied  in  a  thousand 
ways.  On  19th  February  1900  the 
Daily  Telegraph  had  a  paragraph  about 
a  number  of  torpedo-boat  destroyers, 
one  of  which  broke  away  in  harbour 
from  her  moorings,  and  did  much  mis- 
chief. This  par  was  headed  '  The 
Destroyers'  Donny  brook '. 

From  the  historical  conviction  that 
Donnybrook  Fair  (Ireland)  is  all  noise. 

Don't  be  a  chump  (E.  London, 
1889).  Do  not  lose  your  temper. 
Derived  probably  from  the  act  of 
fixing  the  teeth  in  passion  as  though 
chumping — that  is,  biting  hard. 

Don't  care  a  Pall  Mall  (Club,  1885). 
A  synonym  for  a  damn.  In  July  1885 
the  Pall  Mall  Gazette  gained  wide 
notoriety  by  the  publication  of  articles 
entitled  The  Maiden  Tribute'.  Hence 
the  phrase,  '  He  may  say  what  he  likes  ; 
I  don't  care  a  Pall  Mall.' 

Don't  dynamite  (Peoples',  1883). 
Avoid  anger.  Result  of  the  Irish 
pranks  in  Great  Bdtain  with  this  ex- 
plosive. Their  chief  result  was  to  add 
a  word  to  the  army  of  phrases. 

Don't  know  who's  which  from 
when's  what!  (Street,  1897).  Total 
sentence  of  stupidity.  Speaks  for 

Don't  lose  your  hair  (Peoples',  19 
cent.).  Don't  lose  your  temper.  Came 
in  when  wigs  went  out,  and  replaced 
'dash  my  wig'.  From  the  tendency 
to  tear  the  hair  in  a  rage,  or,  at  all 
events,  to  seize  it.  (See  Keep  your 
hair  on. ) 

Don't  mention  that  (Common  Lon- 
don, 1882).  A  catch  word  which  pre- 
vailed for  some  time  in  consequence  of 
Mr  Baron  Huddleston's  frequent  use 
of  the  phrase  during  the  endless  hear- 
ing (for  over  forty  days)  of  a  libel  case 
between  sculptors — Belt  v.  Lawes. 

Don't  seem  ( Colloquial).  Equivalent 
to  'incapable  of '  ;  e.g.,  'I  don't  seem 
to  see  it,  my  dear  fellow ;  where  does 
the  advantage  come  in  ? ' 


Don't  sell  me  a  Dog 


Don't  sell  me  a  dog  (Soc.,  1860). 
Do  not  deceive  me.  Derived  from  the 
experience  that  the  purchase  of  a  dog, 
most  fanciers  being  thieves,  was  ever  a 
deception.  Very  popular  until  1870. 

Don't  think,  I  (Mid.  Class,  1880). 
Emphatically  meaning  cfo  think ;  e.g., 

'  So  you've  nailed  my  young  woman- 
well  that's  a  nice  thin  job,  I  don't  think ' 
— simply  because  he's  quite  sure  of  it. 

Don't  turn  that  side  to  London 

(Peoples').  Condemnation  of  any  kind 
— of  a  patched  coat  or  boots,  the  worst 
side  of  a  joint  of  meat,  some  injury  to 
the  body,  etc.,  etc.  From  the  supposi- 
tion that  everything  of  the  best  is 
required  in  the  metropolis.  (See  Turn 
the  best  side  to  London.) 

Doogheno  (London,  Back,  lucent.}. 
This  is  a  remarkably  complicated  speci- 
men. It  is  composed  of  '  good '  back- 
wards, the  letter  '  h '  to  prevent  the 
softening  of  the  '  g'  when  brought  next 
an  '  e '.  '  Eno '  is  of  course  '  one '. 

It  can't  be  denied  that  Booth  has 
made  a  doogheno  hit,  and  you  ought  to 
nark  his  bucket.— (1882.) 

Edwin  Booth  was  an  American  actor 
who  (1881-82)  obtained  considerable 
success  in  London  in  Shakespearian 

If  a  chap  happens  to  be  a  dab  tros  he 
gets  on  better  than  a  doogheno  who 
keeps  himself  quiet  and  never  lets  any- 
body Tommy  Tripe  know  how  clever  he 
is. — Cutting. 

Dook  (Peoples'}.  A  huge  nose.  Cor- 
ruption of  '  duke,'  and  referring  to  the 
1  Duke '  —  time  of  Wellington,  who 
during  the  first  half  of  the  19th  cen- 
tury was,  with  intervals  of  unpopu- 
larity, styled  'the  duke'.  His  Grace's 
high  nose  was  hereditary.  The  title 
became  shortened  to  this  one  word,  and 
his  nose  beiug  so  exceptional,  the  title 
of  the  owner  came  by  metaphor  to 
represent  a  huge  nose.  To  this  day  it 
ia  u*ed.  (See  Boko.) 

Dookin  ( Thieves').  Fortune-telling. 
Sixpenny  horoscopes  in  by-ways  and 
cast  upon  the  lines  of  the  palm  of  the 
baud,  the  left,  that  being  nearest  the 
heart.  Hence  the  word — dook,  dookes, 
being  ancient  slang  for  hand ;  generally 
used  in  plural.  'Put  up  yer  dooks.' 
'  Dookin  '  has  new  become  fashionable, 
and  is  called  palmistry.  Where  all  the 
hand  is  concerned  (this  in  telling  char- 
acter), the  term  is  chiromancy. 

Door  and  hinge  (Lond.,  Peoples'). 
Neck  and  breast  of  mutton,  a  joint 
which  bends  readily  amongst  the  cer- 
vical vertebrae.  Very  graphic  and 
humorsome.  (See  Stickings,  Hyde 
Park  Railings.) 

Door-knocker  (Peoples',  1854).  A 
ring-shaped  beard  formed  by  the  cheeks 
and  chin  being  shaved  leaving  a  chain 
of  hair  under  the  chin,  and  upon  each 
side  of  mouth — forming  with  moustache 
something  like  a  door-knocker. 

Charles  Dickens  had  a  moustache  and 
a  door-knocker  beard.— E.  Yates,  Recol- 
lections, vol.  i.,  p.  256. 

Door-mat  (Colloquial,  1856).  The 
name  given  by  the  people  to  the  heavy 
and  unaccustomed  beards  which  the 
Crimean  heroes  brought  home  from 
Russia  in  1855-56,  and  which  started 
the  beard  movement,  much  to  the 
astonishment  of  French  excursionists. 
By  1882  the  term  came  to  be  applied 
to  the  moustache  only,  probably  be- 
cause about  this  time  the  tendency  to 
shave  the  beard  and  wear  only  a  very 
heavy  moustache  became  prevalent. 

While  writing,  a  pal  comes  in  and  tells 
me  that  the  City  peelers  are  to  be 
allowed  to  grow  doormats. — Cutting. 

The  Corporation  of  London,  always 
very  conservative,  only  allowed  the 
City  police  to  wear  moustaches  in  1882. 

He  was  a  little  joker  with  a  red 
smeller  and  a  small  red  doormat  over 
his  kisser. — Cutting. 

Doormat  (Common  Lond.,  1880). 
Victory  (see  Grease  -  spot),  meaning 
that  the  enemy  was  overcome,  and  so 
fallen  that  the  victor  wiped  his  feet 
upon  the  conquered — Vae  Victis  ! 

I  guess  that  chucker-out  won't  hit  me 
any  more.  I  made  a  doormat  of  him. — 
Cutting  (1883). 

Doping  (Hoeing,  1900).  Hocussing 
rather  than  poisoning  racehorses  when 
about  to  run.  In  1899-1900  large  sums 
of  money  had  been  made  by  American 
betting-men  at  English  race  meetings. 
Gradually  the  conviction  gained  groun  d 
that  runner«  were  being  tampered,  with 
in  new  and  dangerous  ways,  resulting 
in  more  than  temporary  injury  to  the 
horses.  Especially  in  the  U.S.A.  it 
was  remarkable  how  frequently  racers 
either  died  at  or  shortly  after  a  race, 
or  that  they  so  went  back  that  they 
were  never  raced  again.  In  the  U.S.A. 
the  term  used  for  the  exercise  of  this 



Down  the  Road 

nefarious  usage  of  horses  was  called 
'  doping' — said  to  be  derived  from  a 
proper  name.  The  term  came  to  be 
heard  in  England  in  the  summer  of 
1900.  In  November  of  this  year  the 
Animals'  Aid  Society  held  a  weakly 
organised  meeting  to  devise  means  to 
meet  these  fraudulent  practices.  But 
it  turned  out  that  nobody  present  knew 
anything  at  all  about  the  matter. 

Dorothy  (Soc.,  1888).  Rustic  love- 
making.  From  the  mode  of  an  opera- 
comique  of  this  name  (1887-88). 

Those  (letters)  of  the  defendant  were 
of  the  most  amatory  character,  contain- 
ing repeated  promises,  in  Dorothy  style, 
to  be  true  to  the  plaintiff.—  D.  N.t  7th 
July  1888. 

Dorsay  (Soc.,  1830-45).  Perfect. 
Count  d'Orsay,  of  an  old  French  family, 
led  the  fashion  generally  during  these 
years ;  so  much  so  that  it  was  the 
highest  praise  to  say  he  was  a  dorsay. 

Dose  of  Locust  (N.  fork  Police- 
men's). A  beating  with  fists. 

Mullaley,  smarting  under  the  pain  of 
the  wound,  gave  Mr  Supple  a  dose  of 
locust,  which  induced  him  to  accompany 
the  officer  to  court. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dossy  (Street).  Elegant.  Probably 
from  Count  d'Orsay  (q.v.). 

Dot  and  carry  one  (Street).  Person 
with  a  wooden  leg. 

The  'dot 'is  the  pegged  impression 
made  by  all  wooden  legs  before  the 
invention  of  the  modelled  foot  and 
calf.  The  '  one '  is  the  widowed  leg. 

Dotted  (Tavern,  19  cent.).  Black- 
eyed.  To  'dot'  a  gentleman  is  to 
punctuate  him  emphatically  with  a 
black -eye. 

The  chucker-out  he  dotted, 
He  got  so  blooming  tight. 

— Cutting. 

Dotties  Man  (Peoples').  Greedy, 
grasping — giving  a  sprat  to  catch  a 

Double-breasted  water-butt 
smasher  (Street).  A  man  of  fine  bust 
— an  athlete. 

The  Bobby  said  that  Joey  Fanatty 
(aged),  described  on  the  charge-sheet  as 
the  double-breasted  water-butt  smasher, 
was  charged  with  a  salt.—  Newsp.  Cutting. 

Double  intenders  (Peoples').  Knock- 
down blows — labial  or  fistful. 

Double-plated  blow-hard  (A mer.). 
A  loud  aud  contemptible  boaster. 

They  went  away  believing  I  was  an  old 
liar  and  a  double-plated  blow-hard,  and 

in  a  week  no  one  would  stop  here. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Double  Scoop  (Military,  1890). 
Hair  parted  in  centre,  and  worn  low — 
gave  way  to  the  quitf. 

Dough-nut  (Amer.  passing  to  Eng- 
land). A  baker,  especially  the  German 

'  Shut  up,  thou  dough  nut,  or  thy  last 
moment  may  be  thy  next.' — Cutting. 

Probably  from  the  too  frequent  pale, 
flabby,  doughy  face  of  this  sickly 

Dover  Castle  boarder  (Prison; 
Debtors'}.  A  circumscribed  district 
around  the  Que»n's  Bench  prison 
(South wark  Bridge  Road),  pulled  down 
in  1881,  was  called  the  '  rules  of  the 
Bench'.  Certain  debtors,  not  im- 
prisoned in  the  Bench  itself,  were  com- 
pelled to  sleep  in  this  district,  and  they 
were  thus  called  because  the  most 
prominent  tavern  in  the  neighbourhood 
was  styled  'The  Dover  Castle' — much 
frequented  by  these  poor  debtors,  who 
were  therefore  called  '  boarders '.  The 
house  still  exists.  It  was  not  a  stone's- 
throw  from  the  prison. 

Down  the  banks  (Irish  colloquial). 
Failed;  e.g.,  'I  got  down  the  banks 
for  my  pains' — meaning  I  failed  only 
as  a  result.  Probably  the  outcome  of 
life  amongst  the  bogs,  which  are  scored 
with  deep  ditches,  as  the  peat  is  cut 
perpendicularly.  The  water  at  the 
foot  of  the  banks  is  frequently  quite 
deep,  often  enough  to  go  over  a  man's 

Down  the  Lane  and  into  the  Mo 
(Central  London,  Low).  Here  the 
Lane  is  that  called  Drury  ;  the  'Mo' 
is  abbreviated  '  Mogul  Music  Hall ' 
(established  1850),  and  afterwards 
baptized  The  Middlesex.  But  the 
Lane  clung  to  '  Mo ' — probably  a  name 
given  to  the  place  generations  since, 
when  a  public  garden  there  was  kept 
by  some  wonderful  Indian. 

What  was  the  good,  thought  we,  of 
saving  your  rhino,  if  you've  got  no  girl 
to  take  for  trots  down  the  Lane  or  into 
the  Mo.— Cutting,  1883. 

Down  the  Road  (E.  London  Streets). 
Showy,  flashy.  The  road  is  the  Mile  End 
Road,  which  to  frequent  on  a  Sunday, 
in  a  good  cart  or  '  shay',  is  the  ambition 
of  every  costermonger  and  small  trader 
in  that  district. 


Down  to  the  Ground 


Down  to  the  ground  (Peoples'). 
Completely — from  head  to  heels. 

The  character  suits  Rignold  '  down  to 
the  ground  '. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Drag  (Theat.)  Petticoat  or  skirt 
used  by  actors  when  playing  female 
parts.  Derived  from  the  drag  of  the 
dress,  as  distinct  from  the  non-draggi- 
ness  of  the  trouser. 

Mrs  Sheppard  is  now  played  by  a  man 
— Mr  Charles  Steyne,  to  wit.  I  don't 
like  to  see  low  corns,  in  drag  parts,  but 
must  confess  that  Mr  Steyne  is  really 
droll,  without  being  at  all  vulgar. — Ref., 
24th  July  1887. 

Also  given  to  feminine  clothing  by 
eccentric  youths  when  dressing  up  in 

Drag-on  (Cornish}.  Opprobrious 
distinction  conferred  on  the  men  of 
Helston  by  their  Cornish  neighbours — 
especially  the  nearest. 

A  neighbourly  legend  of  Helston — 
formerly  Hellstone — in  Cornwall,  says 
that  the  borough  was  dropped  from  the 
clouds  by  the  Evil  One  in  the  course  of  a 
provincial  tour  over  the  western  county. 
To  this  moment,  1  understand,  it  is  a 
deadly  affront  to  call  a  Helston  man  a 
4  dragon  '.—D.  T.,  20th  August  1896. 

Drapery  Miss  (Com.  Class).  A  girl 
of  doubtful  character,  who  dresses  in  a 
striking  manner.  Libellous  generally. 
Degenerated  from  the  time  of  Byron, 
who  says  in  a  note  to  st.  49  ca.  xi.  of 
Don  Juan: — 

'  Drapery  Misses ' :  This  term  is  pro- 
bably anything  now  but  a  mystery.  It 
was,  however,  almost  so  to  me,  when  I 
first  returned  from  the  East,  in  1811-12. 
It  means  a  pretty,  a  high-born,  a  fashion- 
able young  female,  well  instructed  by  her 
friends,  and  furnished  by  her  milliner 
with  a  wardrobe  upon  credit,  to  be 
repaid,  when  married,  by  her  husband. 

Drasacking (Devon.)  Draw-sacking 
— idle,  slow,  dragging. 

'  Drasacking '  is  a  common  and  cheap 
pastime,  consisting  of  an  aimless,  point- 
less, shambling  sauntering.  The  '  dra- 
sacking '  householder,  while  an  absolute 
tortoise  himself,  believes  that  a  wise  and 
just  dispensation  intended  his  servant- 
girl  or  hired  man  to  be  a  hare.— D.  T., 
19th  October  1895. 

Draw  iron  (Amer.}.  To  present  a 

If  every  person  who  fancied  himself 
aggrieved  by  his  cabman  were  to  '  draw 
iron  ',  the  nature  of  the  cabman's  shelter 
would  have  to  be  altered  and  made  to 
correspond  with  the  iron  huts  familiar  to 
Irish  police. — Newsp.  Gutting. 


Draw  the  Badger.     (See  Badger.) 

Draw  the  dibs  (Bootmakers1}.  To 
take  wages — dibs  being  a  trade  term 
for  money.  Dibs  are  small  nails,  hence 

Draw  the  line  at  tick  (Sena- 
comics').  A  euphemism  for  declaration 
of  virtue  on  the  part  of  a  serio-comic 
lady  singer.  '  I  may  sing  a  hot  line 
or  two,  or  take  a  present  here  or  there, 
but  I  draw  the  line  at  tick,'  the  mate- 
rial in  question  being  not  a  scheme  of 
credit  or  '  tick ',  but  a  covered  allusion 
to  the  textile  fabric  used  for  the  cover- 
ing of  beds  and  mattresses. 

Dree  his  weird  (Lanes.).  To  bear 
trouble  sadly. 

Little  do  the  unthinking  youths  who 
nowadays  assemble  at  a  wedding  to 

*  guy '   the    '  best  man  '  suspect  that  a 
generation  ago  a  victim  of  this  descrip- 
tion would  not  have  had  to   'dree  his 
weird '  alone.      His  weird   would  have 
been  dreed  conjointly   with  him  by  a 

•  second  best ',  a  third  best,  down  some- 
times in  a  descending  scale  of  excellence 
to   an    eighth    best    man.— D.    T.,   3rd 
September  1895. 

Dress  for  the  part  (Society— drawn 
from  Theatre,  1870).— To  act  hypo- 

The  only  two  authors  of  real  celebrity 
whom  I  can  remember  as  having  looked 
'  like  themselves  ' — I  mean  their  books — 
were  Douglas  Jerrold  and  Alexandre 
Dumas  the  Elder.  Sham  celebrities,  on 
the  other  hand,  '  dress  for  the  part ',  and 
contrive  to  look  that  which  they  are, 
really,  not.— G.  A.  Sala,  in  III.  Lond. 
News,  16th  December  1882. 

Dressed  up  to  the  nines  (Com. 
London).  A  eulogistic  or  sarcastic  ex- 
pression of  opinion  as  to  another's 
dress — according  as  the  accent  and 
manner  of  the  speaker  go.  Corruption 
of  'Dressed  to  the  eyen '.  When  'eyen' 
(pi.  of  '  eye ')  was  departing  English, 
an  's'  was  added  to  give  'eye'  a 
modern  plural — while  the  knowledge  of 
'  eyen'  remained.  After  a  time  '  eyen ' 
lost  its  meaning,  and  the  old  plural  was 
colloqualized  into  a  comprehensive  ex- 
pression, and  'nines'  followed.  Con- 
currently, the  expression  'dressed  to 
the  nines'  took  form,  and  is  still  used. 

Drilling  ( Workpeoples'}.  Punishment 
by  way  of  waiting,  applied  to  needle- 
women who  make  errors  in  their  work. 

There  is  a  common  punishment  in 
these  sweating  warehouses  when  work  is 
wrongly  done.  It  is  termed  '  drilling '. 


Drunk  as  a  Polony 

The  woman  could  not,  it  seems,  be  suffi- 
ciently '  drilled '  by  merely  being  sent 
home  to  undo  the  work  and  do  it  again. 
She  must  be  taught  to  be  more  careful 
by  punishment  a  little  more  drastic  than 
that,  and  accordingly  she  was  told  her 
bundle  would  be  sent  down  to  her,  and 
till  it  came  she  must  wait.  '  The  woman 
stood  there  expecting  the  parcel  every 
minute  for  three  days.' — D.  N.,  26th 
February  1885.  (See  Sweater. ) 

Drinkitite  (Peoples':  East  London). 
Thirst.  The  struggling  populace,  who 
chiefly  joke  (when  they  joke  apart  from 
abuse)  over  their  struggles,  having  dis- 
covered '  bite-etite '  as  a  jocose  conver- 
sion of  appetite — came  naturally  to  give 
it  a  correlative  in  '  drinkitke '.  There 
is  also  grim  satire  in  the  application  of 
the  last  syllable,  which  is  the  common 
word  for  'drunk',  hence  'drinkitite' 
as  a  pendent  to  '  bite-etite '  is  positively 
perfect.  An  East  London  gentleman 
gently  referring  to  his  continued  liba- 
tions would  evasively  but  emphatically 
observe  :  '  I've  been  on  the  drinkitite 
right  through  the  week.' 

Driving1  at  (Peoples').  Energetic 
acti<  >n.  Good  example  of  phrase  coming 
out  of  general  characteristic  vigour  of 
the  race.  '  He  must  be  driving  at 
something.'  Even  the  word  drive, 
without  the  progressive  'ing'  or  the 
emphatic  'at',  is  a  perfect  English 

Drop  (Amer.-Eng.).  To  cause  to 

About  two  minutes  after  he  had  the 
revolver  his  body  was  swung  a  little  on 
one  side,  when  I  pointed  my  revolver 
and  fired  where  I  thought  I  could  drop 
him.— D.  N.,  5th  September  1884. 

Self-defence  of  a  burglar  named 
Wright.  Also,  to  understand. 

'  Ah  ? '  sobbed  the  girl,  '  you  do  not 
drop.' — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Drop  (Society  and  Sporting,  1850). 
To  lose  (money).  A  racing  man  or 
society  man  who  fails  to  win  money  on 
a  race  never  loses  it — he  always  drops 
it;  e.g.,  '  I  dropped  awfully  on  the 

Drop  (Thieves').  The  modern  gal- 
lows. A  very  significant  word  to 
describe  modern  capital  punishment. 
At  Tyburn  tree  the  man  stood  in  the 
cart,  which  was  drawn  from  under 
him.  Afterwards,  at  Newgate,  the  suf- 
ferer was  pulled  up.  But  when  some 
genius  invented  the  falling  flap,  which 

dropped  from  under  the  feet  of  the 
victim,  the  significance  of  the  word 
became  evident. 

Drop  the  cue  (Billiard  -  players'). 
To  die. 

Drouthy  (Scotch).  Wavering  per- 
son ;  one  of  no  settled  will. 

Leading  citizens  were  occupied  the 
greater  part  of  the  night  before  the 
polling-day  watching  doubtfuls,  known 
locally  as  '  drouthies '  ;  every  voter  was 
pledged  ;  not  a  few  were  '  nursed  ' ;  the 
halt,  the  blind,  and  the  deaf  were 
escorted  to  the  polling-booth. — D.  N., 
27th  October  1884. 

Drum  ( Thieves',  1 860).     A  house. 

Close  to  the  gardens  the  prisoner  said 
'What  do  you  think  of  those  ''drums" 
there  ? '  and  witness  said,  '  I  don't  think 
much  of  them.' — felon's  Queen's  JUvidence. 

Drum  is  not  usually  applied  to  a 
respectable  quaker-like  house,  but  to 
any  one  frequented  by,  say,  soldiers. 
Fielding  uses  this  word  in  Tom  Jones, 
Bk.  xvii.,  ch.  6. 

Drum  (Thieves').  A  cell — precisely 
because  a  drum  is  an  enclosure. 

Drunk  as  a  lord  (Streets).  Very 
intoxicated.  Descent  from  18th  cen- 
tury middle-class — when  drunkenness 
was  honourable. 

'  Drunk  as  a  lord  '  and  '  Sober  as  a 
judge  '  have  ceased  to  have  any  recognis- 
able application  to  the  nobility  and  the 
Judicial  Bench.  Judges,  in  these  later 
days,  are  as  sober  as  other  folk,  take 
them  as  a  class,  no  more  and  no  less, 
and  the  same  applies  to  the  Peerage. — 
D.  T.,  27th  May  1888. 

Drunk  as  Floey  (Peoples').  Who  it 
appears  was  dead  drunk — may  be  a  cor- 
ruption of  Flora,  but  probably  a  con- 
fusion between  that  comparatively 
familiar  name  and  'Chloe'.  If  the 
latter,  good  instance  of  the  power  Swift 
had  to  popularize.  In  the  dean's  poems 
Chloe  is  always  more  or  less  under  the 
influence  of  drink. 

Drunk  as  a  polony  (Lond.).  At 
first  sight  this  expression  might  be 
accepted  as  very  literal,  seeing  that  a 
sausage  cannot  stand,  and  that  a 
polony  (corruption  of  Bologna  —  cele- 
brated for  its  sausages)  exists  under 
the  same  conditions.  But  it  is  more 
probably  one  of  frequent  but  obscure 
expressions  derived  from  the  French, 
who  to  this  day  say  :  '  Soul  comme  un 
Pol-»nnais'  —  this  probably  took  its 
origin  in  reference  to  Maurice  Mai  echal 
de  Saxe,  who,  in  his  drinks,  was  more 




Polish  than  French.  On  the  other 
hand,  the  Pole,  for  drinking  com- 
parisons, has  long  held  in  France  the 
position  maintained  in  England  by  the 
cobbler — '  drunk  as  a  cobbler'. 

Druriolanus  (Theat.,  1885). 
Drury  Lane  Theatre.  Playful  outcome 
of  calling  Mr  Augustus  Harris,  after- 
wards Sir  Augustus  Harris,  the 
Emperor  Augustus.  The  word  also 
suggests  that  other  directorial  person- 
age, Coriolanus. 

The  vast  stage  of  Her  Majesty's  is  not 
a  whit  less  advantageous  for  the  display 
of  its  spectacular  effects  than  that  of  the 
house  which  gives  to  Mr  Harris's  tele- 
graphic address  of  '  Druriolanus '  its 
special  fitness  and  significance. — D.  N., 
12th  October  1886. 

Augustus  Druriolanus  is  their  presi- 
dent, and  they  are  going  to  bring  off  a 
four-oared  race  from  Barnes  to  Hammer- 
smith on  October  31.— Ref.,  October  1886. 

Dry  Bobs  (Eton).  A  cricketer. 
(See  Wet  Bobs.) 

Dry  canteen  (Milit.).  (See  Wet 
canteen. ) 

Dry  guillotine  (Franco  •  English). 
Severe  imprisonment.  From  the  penal 
French  colony  at  Cayenne,  a  fearful 

Cayenne  is  so  malarious  that  trans- 
portation thither  used  to  be  styled  the 
dry  guillotine. — Graphic,  1st  November 

Dry  land  (Rhyming}.  To  under- 

Whenever  you  see  a  chap  after  your 
judy,  the  best  thing  to  do  is  to  go  up  to 
her  and  tell  her  that  you  don't  mean  to 
stand  her  blooming  kid,  that  you  dry 
land  her  emag. — Cutting. 

Dry  up  (Anglo- Amer.).  To  cease 
because  effete — from  mining  districts 
of  W.  America,  where,  when  the  moun- 
tain torrents  dry  up  in  summer,  mining 
operations  necessarily  cease. 

Duca  di  Somevera  (Peoples').  Libe- 
ral Italian  translation  of  Duke  of  Some- 
where. On  a  par  with  the  Earl  le  Bird, 
Sir  Tinly  Someone,  and  Swift's  Lord 

The  unhappy  purchaser  of  a  supposed 
masterpiece  must  be  prepared  to  hear 
that  his  picture  is  a  replica  of  one  in  the 
Isle  of  Wight,  or  at  Madrid,  or  in  Lord 
Blank's  gallery,  or  in  the  Palazzo  of  the 
Duca  di  Somevera — D.  N..  16th  June 

Duchess  (Silk  trade).  The  shapely 
girl  upon  whom  mantles  and  jackets 
are  tried  to  enable  ladies  to  judge  of 
the  effect. 

The  Duchess — living  lay  figures  receive 
that  title,  in  addition  to  a  whole  pound 
a  week.  —  Besant  &  Rice,  The  Golden 
Butterfly,  vol.  i. ,  ch.  11. 

Duchess  (Peoples').  Mother  —  in- 
variable title  given  between  familiar 
friends  when  the  mother  of  either  is 
being  asked  after.  '  How's  the  Duchess, 

The  wife,  under  similar  conditions, 
would  be  asked  after  as  '  The  Old 
Clock'  —  a  title  whose  derivation  a 
sharp-witted  man  may  find  in  the  first 
chapter  of  Sterne's  Tristram  Shandy. 

Duck-pond  (Navy).  The  shallow 
bathing  -  place  on  the  lower  deck, 
effected  by  a  rig -up  of  sail-cloth, 
made  watertight,  fixed  to  the  deck, 
and  in  which  the  cadets  wash  and 
roll  themselves,  in  batches,  under  the 
watchful  eyes  of  a  warrant  officer. 

Ducks  (Soc.,  1840).  White 
trousers  of  a  peculiarly  woven  cotton 
fabric — mentioned  here  because  it  has 
been  said  to  be  a  corruption  of  '  dux', 
the  name  given  to  the  material  by  the 
Scotch  manufacturer  who  discovered  it. 
Dux  was,  if  not  is,  used  much  by  the 
Scotch.  (See  Lindley  Murray's  English 

Duffer-fare  ( Lond.  Cabmen's).  In  the 
neighbourhood  of  the  theatres,  as  clos- 
ing time  approaches,  the  police  will  not 
allow  cabmen  to  drive  empty  cabs 
through  the  Strand  highway.  In  order 
to  get  past  the  police,  and  so  obtain  a 
chance  of  a  fare  when  the  theatres  vomit 
then-thousands,  cabmen  will  ask  a  pedes- 
trian to  be  '  chummy '  enough  to  jump 
in,  and  be  driven  into  the  Strand. 
Here  arrived  the  '  duffing-fare',  quits 
the  cab,  the  driver  is  in  the  Strand — 
and  keeps  there  till  11  P.M.  ,  when  the 
theatres  disgorging,  he  gets  a  fare  that 
is  no  duffer,  and  who  pays  more  or  less 

Duffing  (Soc.  and  Peoples',  1880  on). 
The  outcoming  adjective  of  'duffer'  and 
'  duff'.  By  1897  this  word  became  one 
of  the  most  active  qualitatives  in  the 
language.  As  a  verb  it  had  by  this  time 
come  to  be  thoroughly  conjugated ; 
e.g.,  'He  duffs  everything  he  touches.' 
'  He  is  the  most  duffing  duffer  that 
ever  duffed.'  'He  has  duffed,  he  does 
duff,  and  he  will  duff  for  ever.' 




Dvk*  (Street).  Nose.  (SeeVook.) 
Duke  o'  Seven  Dials  (Low  Class, 
1875).  Satirical  peerage  bestowed  upon 
any  male  party  dressing  or  behaving 
above  or  beyond  his  immediate  sur- 
roundings. There  is  no  corresponding 
duchess.  A  young  person  of  airs  and 
graces  is  generally  spoken  of  as  about 
to  marry  the  peer  in  question;  e.g., 
f  I'm  going  to  be  the  duchess  of  the 
Dook  o'  Seven  Dials.' — Parody  Song, 
Drury  Lane  Pantomime,  1884. 

Duke's  (The)  (Lond.,  19  cent.).  A 
nickname  of  the  ArgyllKooms  in  Wind- 
mill Street,  Haymarket,  W.,  now  re- 
placed by  the  Trocadero.  In  allusion 
to  the  Duke  of  Argyll. 

Why  should  the  Argyll  be  suppressed 
and  the  Pavilion  be  tolerated  ?  Of  the 
two  '  the  Pav. '  is  far  worse  than  '  the 
Duke's'. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dukey  (Street,  Boys').  A  penny 
gaff.  The  four-farthing  theatre  obtained 
this  title  from  a  Jewish  proprietor  of 
one  of  these  temples  of  art.  His  nose 
was  very  prominent  (1840-50).  In 
these  days  such  a  feature  begot  its 
owner  the  title  of  duker,  from  the  hero 
of  Waterloo,  emphatically  '  the  duke ' 
from  1815  to  1850.  The  'y'  here  is 
an  instance  of  endearing  addition. 

Dumbed  (Amer.  Puritanic).  Eva- 
sion of  '  damned '. 

The  man  who  believes  that  the  Jews 
are  such  a  pack  of  dumbed  fools,  as  to 
seriously  entertain  any  such  plan,  should 
be  shut  up  in  an  asylum  for  the  feeble- 
minded.— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dummy  ( Thieves').  Loaf — probably 
from  th«  softness  of  the  crumb. 

Dumplin'  on  (L.  Classes).   Enceinte. 

Dun  (Peoples').  To  worry  for  money. 
One  of  the  forcible  words  gleaned  from 
proper  names.  Of  course  lexico- 
graphers trace  it  to  Early  English, 
Anglo-Saxon,  or  some  other  remote 
source.  Webster  says  it  is  taken  from 
the  Saxon  dynan,  to  claim.  But  the 
Saxons  did  not  dun — they  recovered 
their  debts  by  more  forcible  means. 

Here  is  its  true  origin :  It  owes  its 
birth  to  one  John  Dun,  a  famous 
bailiff  of  the  town  of  Lincoln ;  so  ex- 
tremely active,  and  so  dexterous  was 
this  man  at  the  management  of  his 
rough  business,  that  it  became  a  pro- 
verb when  a  man  refused  to  pay  his 
debts,  *  Why  don't  you  dun  him  ? '  It 
originated  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VII. 

Durn(Amer.~JEng.).  Another  evasion 
of  '  damned '.  (See  Darn. ) 

Worms  that  rise  early  are  caught — 
gobbled  up  by  birds  every  time.  The 
worm's  a  durn  fool  to  get  up  so  early. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dust  (American  Teamsters).  A  mere 
light  touch  of  anything. 

The  visiting,  the  music,  the  marching, 
the  cheering  and  the  excitement  of  the 
reunion,  with  a  little  dust  of  liquor,  had 
made  him  feel  quite  excited. — Newsp. 

Dust  (Amer.,  1880).  To  walk 
quickly — suggested  by  the  dust  thrown 
up  in  the  act.  Indirect  proof  of  the 
dry  nature  of  American  weather. 

One  grabbed  a  rope  that  was  on  the 
sidewalk  where  they  was  moving  a 
building,  and  pa  got  up  and  dusted. 
You'd  a  died  to  see  pa  run. — Newsp. 

Dusting  (Boer  War,  1899-1900). 
Finishing  the  war  —  complement  of 
'  Sweeping  up '. 

North  of  Pretoria  there  is  still  a  good 
deal  of  dusting  to  be  done.— D.  T.,  2nd 
November  1900. 

Dustman's  bell  (Nursery).  Time 
for  bed.  Origin  obscure.  Is  it  Dowse 
man's  bell — curfew  bell — time  to  put 
out  ('dowse')  the  lights?  Has  it  any 
association  with  '  dowse  the  glim '  ? 
Johnson  gives  :  '  To  fall  suddenly  into 
the  water' — which  would  certainly  put 
out  the  light. 

Dust  out  (Amer.  -Eng. ).  To  retreat 
quickly,  '  levant '.  Suggested  by  dust 
thrown  up  by  rapid  walking. 

I  quickly  got  inside,  locked  the  door, 
and  dusted  out  the  back  way.— Newsp. 

Dust  up  (Milit.,  19  cent.).  An 
engagement — from  the  dust  made  by 
the  movements. 

A  member  of  the  Royal  Army  Medical 
Corps,  who,  in  his  own  words,  '  got 
through  the  Graspan  dust-up  nicely ', 
was  sent,  etc.— Z>.  T.,  Boer  War,  16th 
January  1900. 

Dusty  (Navy).  A  ship'g  steward's 
assistant — probably  because  this  hard- 
worked  official  looks  it. 

Dutch  (Peoples').  Retreat — especi- 
ally from  a  creditor,  and  still  more 
especially  when  accompanied  by  furni- 
ture removed  from  a  tenancy,  the  rent 
of  which  has  not  been  handed  over. 

1  We  did  a  dutch  with  everything— 
even  down  to  the  coal-hammer.' 


Dutch  Cheese 

Early  Riser 

1  Yere  comes  'Anner's  young  bloke — 
I  think  I'll  do  a  quick  dutch/ 

I  make  myself  agreeable,  and  then 
say,  '  I  must  do  a  Dutch'. — Cutting. 

Dutch  cheese  (Low  London,  1882). 
A  bald-head ;  derived  from  the  fact 
that  Dutch  cheeses  are  generally  made 

Dutch  daubs  (Amer.,  1883).  Com- 
mon paintings  of  still-life,  imported 
into  America  by  the  ten  thousands. 
Introduced  by  the  New  York  Herald 
(April  1883)  in  reference  to  a  political 
measure  which  placed  a  35  per  cent,  ad 
valorem  duty  upon  imported  pictures. 
The  term  soon  came  to  mean  a  bad 
picture  of  any  kind. 

The  term  'Dutch  Daub'  has  fetched 
me  a  little.  I  call  to  mind  that  in  almost 
every  refreshment  buffet  and  miner 
hotel  bar  in  the  Southern  and  Western 
States  you  come  across  oil-paintings  of 
still-life.— G.  A.  Sala,  111.  London  News, 
28th  April  1883. 

Dutch  row  (Street}.  A  got-up  un- 
real wrangle.  Rarely  heard.  On  all 
fours— with  '  une  querelle  d'Allemand'. 

Dutchman  (Soc.  of  a  sort,  1870  on). 
Name  for  champagne  of  Deutz  and 
Gelderman.  Here  the  first  name  is 
pronounced  Dutch,  and  the  last  syllable 
of  the  second  name  is  added. 

Duty  (Lower  Class,  Respectable). 
Interest  on  pawnbrokers'  pledges. 
Evasive  synonym  for  interest. 

Dying  duck  in  a  thunderstorm 
(Peoples').  Lackadaisical. 

*  Whoa,  call  her  good-looking  ?  That 
dona  with  a  mug  like  a  dying  duck  in  a 
thunderstorm,  and  smiling  as  if  she'd 
had  a  dose  of  castor  oil  and  didn't  like 
it.'— Cutting. 

Dynamite  (Afid.-class,  1888).  Tea. 
Early  in  February  two  men,  Americans, 
were  tried  in  connection  with  Irish- 
American  attempts  to  do  injury  in  this 
country  with  dynamite.  In  the  course 
of  the  trial  (D.N.,  4th  Feb.  1888) 
it  came  out  that  dynamite  was  always 
called  '  tea' — for  the  purposes  of  con- 
cealment. The  word  took  at  once. 

Dynamite  Racket  (Amer.  •  Eng., 
1885).  Invented  contemptuously  to 
describe  this  sort  of  explosion. 

New  York  loves  a  show,  whether  a 
parade,  a  big  funeral,  a  blazing  fire,  or  a 
dynamite  racket.—  Newsp.  Cutting. 

Dynamiter  ( 1 882).  A  user  of  dyna- 
mite for  illegal  purposes.  It  soon  came 
to  be  a  synonym  for  any  violent  man 

or  woman,  especially  the  latter;  e.g., 
1  My  eye,  ain't  she  jest  a  dynamiter  ? ' 
When  '  tart '  came  to  be  common  pass- 
ing English,  it  was  applied  to  this 
word;  e.g.,  'Well,  she  may  be  tasty, 
but  to  my  mind  she's  a  dynamitart.' 
(See  Petroleuse.) 

Dyspepsia  (Milit.  Hospital).   Drink 
delirium.     D.T.s. 

E.G.  Women  (Snob  Soc.,  1881). 
Wives  of  city  people,  so  named  from 
the  city  forming  the  East  Central 
postal  district  of  the  metropolis. 

E.P.  (Theat.).  Experienced  Play- 

The  experienced  playgoer  will  readily 
guess  that  Branson  compasses  the 
(apparent)  destruction  of  Gerald,  and 
anon  returns  to  Bally  vogan  to  personate 
the  heir — and  the  e.p.  will  be  right. — 
Newsp.  Cutting. 

E.  R.  ( Oxford  'er').  Suffix  applied 
in  every  conceivable  way  to  every  sort 
of  word.  Began  early  in  the  Queen's 
reign  and  has  never  lapsed.  A  new 
woid  in  'er'  is  generally  started  by 
some  quite  distinguished  Oxonian  — 
generally  a  boating  man,  sometimes 
a  debater. 

There  has  been  a  furore  at  Oxford  in 
recent  years  for  word-coining  of  this 
character,  and  some  surprising  effects 
have  been  achieved.  A  freshman 
became  a  'fresher'  in  the  earlier 
Victorian  era,  and  promises  to  remain 
so  for  all  time  and  existence. — D.  T., 
14th  August  1899. 

Ear-mark  (Parliam.,  19  cent.). 
? — Note  of  interrogation,  or  enquiry. 
Used  by  M.P.'s  when  reading  Bills 
and  other  papers  to  draw  their  future 
attention.  A  sort  of  rebus,  from  this 
character  being  something  like  an  'ear'. 
Word  often  heard  in  Parliament. 

Nervous  reference  is  made  to  the 
assertion  of  the  Chancellor  of  the 
Exchequer  that  certain  items  of 
Transvaal  revenue  would  be  ear- marked 
for  the  purpose  of  the  war  contribution. 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Early  riser  (Anglo-Amer. — return- 
ing emphasized  to  England).  A  sharp, 
business-like  person.  Probably  from 
'  Early  to  bed  and  early  to  rise,  Makes 


Early  Purl 


a  man  healthy,  and  wealthy,  and  wise,' 
or  again  "Tis  the  early  bird  catches 
the  worm'  (who  unfortunately  is  for 
himself,  too  early  a  riser).  In  U.S.A. 
this  phrase  takes  several  shapes— the 
best  being  *  You'd  have  to  get  up  early 
to  be  before  me  ! ' 

The  general  idea  is  that  anybody  who 
is  going  to  over-reach  Hetty  Green  (New 
York),  or  do  her  out  of  a  fraction  of  those 
millions,  will  have  to  be  a  very  early  riser 
indeed.  She  gives  no  costume  dances, 
and  never  will ;  she  would  be  better  liked 
if  she  did.—  D.  T.,  10th  February  1897. 

Early  purl   (Street,    19  cent.).      A 
drink  made  of  hot  beer  and  gin,  so 
named  because  taken  early  on  a  cold 
morning.     A  song  ran — 
'  I'm  damned  if  I  think 
There's  another  such  drink 
As  good  early  purl.' 
When    princes  and    princesses   are 
born  there  is  a  lavish  distribution  of 
'  caudle ',  a  mysterious  beverage  of  the 
nature  whereof  we  confess  ourselves  as 
ignorant  as  of  that  of  '  early  purl '. 

Early-turners  (Music-hall).  Scorn- 
ful reference  to  an  inferior  artist  who 
takes  his  '  turns '  early  in  the  evening, 
before  the  audience  is  thrang,  or 
fashionable,  or  both.  From  8.0  to 
8,30.  (See  Enders.) 

Earth-hunger  (Political,  1880). 
Greed  to  possess  land.  Supposed  to 
have  come  from  Ireland,  and  in  that 
relation  to  refer  to  the  desires  of 
peasants  to  obtain  a  bit  of  land.  In 
England  used  to  define  the  passion  of 
landed  proprietors  to  add  to  their  land 
at  any  cost. 

East  of  the  Griffin  ( W.  London). 
East  London.  Replaced  '  East  of 
Temple  Bar'.  Outcome  of  the  city 
Griffin  on  his  wonderful  pedestal 
replacing  Temple  Bar. 

At  the  Pavilion  Theatre,  you  ought  to 
know  by  this  time,  even  if  you  never  go 
east  of  the  Griffin,  they  do  things  in  a 
way  that  is  not  excelled  at  many  West 
End  theatres  that  I  am  acquainted  with. 
—Ref.,  llth  October  1885. 

Eat  strange  meat  (Soc.,  19  cent.). 
A  delicate  evasion  of  cannibalism. 

We  feel  much  less  horror  than  in  face 
of  the  naked  fact  of  cannibalism  practised 
by  civilized  men  for  the  sake  of  dear  life. 
Life  is  not  worth  the  imputation  of 
having  'eaten  strange  meat'. — D.  N., 
14th  August  1884. 

Eat  the  leek.  To  apologize.  From 

Eat  vinegar  with  a  fork  (Peoples'). 
The  extreme  of  acid  sharpness — in 
conversation.  The  vinegar  alone  \v  ould 
set  teeth  on  edge,  the  fork  intensifies 
the  condiment. 

Eatings  (Peoples';  old).  An  ancient 
word  now  represented  by  board  ;  e.g., 
'  The  room  'ull  be  'arf-a-crown  a  week, 
without  eatin's' — for  there  are  lodgers 
who  would  expect  banquets  thrown  in 
with  a  sixpenny  bed  for  the  night. 

Eautybeau  (Music-hall  transposi- 
tion). Beauty. 

Do  I  know  him?  Do  I  rumble  the 
eautybeau?  What  do  you  think? — 

Ebenezar  (Puritanic).  An  exclama- 
tion of  rejoicing— from  the  Hebrew. 
George  Eliot  often  uses  this  word  in 
her  diary. 

Eccer  (Oxford  'er').  Exercise- 
both  c's  hard. 

Every  man  after  lunch  devotes  himself 
to  'eccer',  which  is,  in  ordinary  parlance, 
exercise.  This  may  take  the  shape  of 
'  footer ',  or  a  mild  constitutional  known 
as  a  'constitutor',  while  if  any  one 
lounges  idly  about  he  is,  of  course,  a 
'slacker'.—/).  T.,  14th  August  1899. 

Edgarism  (Club,  1882).  This  was 
the  new  satirical  name  given  to 
agnosticism,  or  rather  atheism  upon 
the  production  of  Tennyson's  prose 
play  The  Promise  of  May.  The  villain- 
hero,  Edgar,  is  an  educated  man  of 
position,  who  bases  his  arguments 
for  free  love  and  free  will  upon  a  denial 
of  the  deity.  This  bit  of  historical 
passing  English  died  with  the  play, 
which,  while  never  successful,  was 
most  unfairly  damned  by  critics  and 
public.  The  former  appear  to  have 
resented  the  poet's  despotic  associa- 
tions of  free  thought  with  immorality 
— as  a  necessary  outcome  of  atheism. 
Edge  (Criminal).  To  bolt,  escape. 
Probably  from  'dodge' — and  retire. 

One  of  the  other  two  called  out  'Edge' 
(a  slang  term  to  be  off),  and  they  ran 
away.— D.  N.>  November  1886. 

Eekcher  (Peoples',  1882).  Inversion 
of  cheek — audacity. 

Well,  modesty  is  not  marketable 
nowadays,  and  perhaps  Tippy  is  right 
to  pin  his  faith  to  the  doctrine  that 
there's  nothing  like  '  eekcher '. — Newsp. 

Eel-skin  (Soc.t  1881).  A  name 
given  to  the  tight  skirt  worn  at  this 
date;  e.g.,  'She  wore  an  eel-skin  of 
London  smoke.'  (See  One  leg.) 




Eenque  (Streets ;  transposition). 
Queen.  A  very  popular  example  of 
this  queer  mode  of  word-making. 

So  shout,  you  beggars,  shout ;  God 
save  the  Eenque. — Cutting. 

Eetswe  (Transposition).  Sweet — a 
very  commoH  word  in  low  life ;  e.g., 
'Lord,  I  am  eetswe  on  that  udyju' 

Eff.,  Effy.  (Theatr.)  Abbreviation 
of  Effingham,  a  small  theatre  once  in 
E.  London. 

Efficient  effrontery  (Soc.,  1885). 
Clever  audacity — brought  in  by  J.  W. 
M'N.  Whistler  in  February  by  a  lecture 
at  Prince's  Hall,  called  '  Ten  o'clock ', 
from  the  hour  at  which  it  began — 
P.M.  It  was  an  attack  upon  art -critics 
in  general,  and  Ruskin  in  particular. 
The  lecturer  used  this  term,  which  at 
once  became  familiar  in  society  in  a 
hundred  ways. 

Mr  Whistler's  lecture  is  distinctly  a 
surprise.  He  deprecates  the  tone  in 
which  such  subjects  are  too  frequently 
handled.  The  commonplace  world 
endowed  with  '  efficient  effrontery '  no 
longer  reverently  approaches  Art  as  a 
dainty  goddess,  but  'chucks  her  under 
the  chin1.— D.  N.,  21st  February  1885. 

Eicespie  (Transposition).  Pieces. 
An  interesting  example  of  the  rough 
logic  used  in  phrase -making.  '  Pieces' 
is  a  figure  of  speech  for  money,  and 
there  is  the  ordinary  transposition. 
But  that  is  not  all.  The  i  being  left 
as  the  initial  would  destroy  the  ordinary 
vowel  sound  of  *  piece ' ;  therefore  the 
e  is  placed  before  the  t. 

Does  the  artful,  and  he  draws  the 
eicespie. — Cutting. 

Eighteen-carat  lie  (Amer.,  1883), 
A  good,  sound  lie,  18-carat  gold  being 
good,  thorough  metal. 

Eighty  Club  (Soc.).  A  club  formed 
in  the  year  4  '80 ',  shortly  before  the 
general  election,  with  the  object  of 
promoting  political  education,  and 
stimulating  Liberal  organization  by 
supplying  Liberal  meetings  in  London 
and  the  country  with  speakers  and 

Eiley  Mavourneen  (Commercial). 
A  non- paying  debtor.  Refers  to  the 
line  in  Moore's  song,  '  It  may  be  for 
months,  and  it  may  be  for  never.' 

Elaborate  the  truth  (Soc.).  To 

Elderly  Jam  (Peoples,  1880  on). 
Aging  woman.  Qualified  jam  ;  e.g., 

'Elderly  jam  is  —  elderly  jam,  and 
heaven  preserve  it,  for  man  turns  from 

Electrate  (1890  on).  To  describe 
locomotion  by  electricity. 

They  go  by  train  to  Bourne  End,  where 
they  take  to  the  river  and  'electrate' 
to  Medmenham  Abbey  and  Henley. 
Electrate  is  one  of  the  recently-invented 
verbs  to  express  the  new  mode  of  loco- 
motion, to  which  the  words  sail  and 
steam  are  inapplicable. — Newsp.  Cutting. 
Applied  more  recently  to  violent 
and  eccentric  meetings;  e.g.,  'They 
electrated  from  8  to  1 1 . 1 5  p.  M.  Every- 
thing was  amended,  and  then  they 
amended  the  amendments.' 

Electrocution  (Amer.-Eng.,  1890). 
Execution  by  electricity.  Built  upon 

Elephant's  Trunk  (Street;  rhym- 
ing}. Drunk.  The  phrase  became 
incomprehensible  by  the  dropping  of 
the  rhyming.  '  Oh,  he's  elephants  ' 
(i.e.,  intoxicated)  will,  in  time  to  come, 
exercise  many  an  etymologist. 

(Daddy)  And  what  am  I  to  be? 
(Mother  G.)  Get  out  —  you're  drunk. 
(P.  Char.)  You  shall  be— let's  see— Baron 
Elephant's  Trunk. 

A  capital  example  of  a  common  bit 
of  slang  phrase  locally  applied,  for 
this  line  is  found  in  an  Elephant  and 
Castle  Theatre  Pantomime.  It  should 
be  added  that  'daddy'  was  a  satire 
upon  the  Blue  Ribbon  movement — 
he  belonging  to  it,  and  yet  always 
being  '  elephant's  trunk '. 

Elevator  (Soc.,  1882  on).  The 
crinolette.  For  some  years  the  dress 
below  the  back  of  the  waist  was  almost 
flat,  when  in  this  year  bows  were  seen 
there,  and  then  followed  the  crinolette, 
which,  throwing  up  the  dress,  obtained 
this  satiric  name  amongst  young  men, 
and  was  afterwards  accepted  literally. 

Elijah  Two  (Amer.-Eng.).  A 
false  prophet.  From  one  Dr  Dowie, 
an  American  peripatetic  preacher  who 
first  gained  this  title.  His  son  was 
dubbed  Elijah  Three. 

Ellersby  (Peoples',  1870  on).  The 
initials  of  the  London  School  Board. 
No  particular  point  beyond  brevity — 
said  to  be  the  soul  of  wit. 

L.S.B.  Extravagance :  The  extraordin- 
ary extravagance  of  the  London  School 
Board  is  strikingly  shown  by  the  con- 
stant increase  in  the  amount  paid  by  the 
Strand  Board  of  Works.—  People,  20th 
September  1896. 



Establish  a  Funk 

Ellessea  (L.  Compositors}.  The 
initials  of  London  Society  of  Com- 

Elongated  kisser.    A  wide  mouth. 

'  Yer  looks  like  a  lady, '  I  says  ;  '  then 
why  do  yer  wipe  yer  elongated  kisser 
with  a  whopping  great  red  stook?' — 

Empress  Pidgeon  (Naval,  1876  on). 
Pigeon  is  discussion,  and  Empress 
Pigeon  was  a  palaver  with  Queen 
Victoria  for  a  basis.  Now  Emperor 

Endacotted  (Socialist,  1887). 
Illegally  arrested.  Attributed  to  Mrs 
Annie  Besant.  Derived  evidently,  by 
partial  similarity  in  sound,  from  Boy- 
cott, and  referring  to  a  policeman  of 
the  name  who  was  tried  and  acquitted 
(1887)  upon  an  indictment  for  illegal 
arrest  of  a  young  dressmaker,  whom  he 
swore  was  a  well-known  woman  of  the 
town.  After  a  time  the  term  was 
reduced  to  'cotted'  following  the 
common  tendency  to  shorten  phrases 
and  even  words. 

Ender  (Music-hall).  A  performer 
of  inferior  quality,  even  inferior  to  an 
'early-turner,'  (q.v.)  who  only  'goes  on' 
after  the  great  hours.  Enders  perform 
from  11  to  11.80 — when  most  music- 
halls  are  emptying — except  on  '  bens '. 

End -men  (Negro  Minstrels).  The 
two  comic  black  souls  who  enliven 
with  small  wit  a  negro  entertainment, 
and  sit  at  either  end  of  the  line  of 
seated  performers.  Now  passed  to 
black  comics  who  even  sit  in  the 

On  the  stage  there  are  sixty  of  these 
dark  coloured  minstrels,  whose  voices  are 
interposed  with  striking  effect  in  many 
of  the  choruses.  The  '  end  men '  are 
numerous,  and  amply  endowed  with  a 
boisterous  humour. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Engineer  (Amer.-Eng.,  1880).  To 
manage,  manipulate,  direct.  Out- 
growth of  railway  and  steam  era 

Afterwards  you  may  look  out  for  Daly's 
Company  from  New  York,  engineered  by 
Terriss.—  Rtf.,  8th  June  1884. 

English  pluck  (Peoples').  Money, 
figuratively  ;  e.g.,  ' Got  any  English 
pluck  to-day  ? '  (Have  you  any  money 
with  which  to  gamble  by  means  of 
tossing  ?) 

Enobs  (Back  slang).  Bone,  in 
ordinary  plural.  A  very  favourite 
specimen  because  by  chance  the 


inversion   is  a    sort  of   rebus,    bones 
showing  affording  a  study  of  '  knobs '. 

But  he  swallowed  a  box  of  matches 
one  day  which  burnt  away  all  the  fat 
and  left  the  mere  enoba  you  see  now. — 

Enthuse  (A mer.).  Abbreviation  of 
'create  enthusiasm'.  Not  yet  ac- 
cepted in  England. 

An  entirely  new  play,  called  Uncle 
Tom's  Cabin,  with  muzzled  bloodhounds 
in  their  stellar  r61e,  did  not  enthuse  the 
manager  nor  his  patrons  of  the  past 
week. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Enthuzimuzzy  (Soc.,  19  cent.). 
Satirical  reference  to  enthusiasm. 
Attributed  to  Braham  the  terror. 

Entire  Squat  (Amer.,  reaching 
Eng.  1883).  A  household,  including 
wife,  children,  servants,  and  furniture. 

Espysay  (Stable,  1880  on).  A  word 
composed  of  the  letters  S.P.C.A.  — 
initials  of  the  Society  for  the  Preven- 
tion of  Cruelty  to  Animals.  Secretive 
in  its  nature,  being  created  by  people 
about  horses  and  cattle,  many  of  whom 
go  about  in  savage  fear  of  this  valuable 

Essex  calves  (Provincial).  A 
contemptuous  designation  of  Essex- 
men,  always  looked  down  upon  by 
more  prosperous  Suffolk. 

Essex  lion.  Lion  is  a  variant  of 
calf.  Not  used  in  Essex,  but  against 
it ;  especially  by  superior  Kent,  over 
the  way,  on  the  south  side  of  the 
Thames.  Interesting  as  showing  inter- 
county  hostilities,  now  passing  away. 
The  men  of  Kent  or  Keniish  men 
(between  whom  there  would  appear  to 
be  great  differences)  have  always 
belonged  to  an  advanced  part  of 
England,  and  have  escaped  satire  by 
reason  of  their  superiority.  Probably 
they  gave  their  county  neighbours 
their  well-known  sobriquets — Hamp- 
shire Hogs,  Sussex  Sows,  Surrey 
Swine.  Middlesex  they  avoided,  but 
Essex,  separated  from  them  by  the 
Thames,  and  inferior,  as  a  county,  to 
Kent,  as  indeed  it  remains  to  this 
day,  was  specially  honoured  with  a 

Establish  a  funk  (Oxford).  To 
create  a  panic — invented  by  a  great 
bowler,  at  cricket,  who  enlivened  this 
distinction  with  some  cannon  -  ball 
bowling  which  was  equivalent  amongst 
the  enemy  to  going  into  action.  Funk 
for  panic,  dismay,  alarm — is  superior 


Eye  in  a  Sling 

to  origin.     Probably  from  establish  a 
suit  in  whist. 

Euro  !  (Navy).  Seamen's  name  for 
the  Europa — a  happy  example  of  the 
sailor's  love  of  getting  in  a  final  0, 
as  in  '  what  oh  ! ',  '  what  cheer  oh  ! ', 

Europe  on  the  chest  (Army). 
Home  -  sickness.  Used  chiefly  by 
soldiers  in  India,  who  commit  offences 
sometimes  in  order  to  be  sent  home. 

Sir,  they  are  not  all  bad  at  the  bottom 
of  them,  but  they  have  had  at  times 
the  fever,  and  ague  and  their  heart  grows 
faint  for  England,  and  then  they  get 
what  the  driver  terms  Europe  on  the 
chest,  and  at  the  same  time  he  is  not 
particular  what  he  does  as  long  as  he  has 
a  chance  of  coming  to  England. — Letter 
by  Convict,  D.  N.,  3rd  November  1885. 

Even  with,  To  get.  A  vigorous 
use  of  this  word,  to  procure  equality 
with  one  who  has  bested  the  speaker, 
e.g.,  'Never  fear,  I'll  get  even  with 
him  yet.' 

Evening  wheezes  (Peoples'). 
False  news,  spread  in  evening  half- 
penny papers  in  order  to  sell  them. 

Eventuate.  To  result.  A  direct 
importation  from  America,  and  not 
at  all  wanted. 

'  It  appeared  as  though  we  were  com- 
mitted to  a  conflict  with  the  House  of 
Lords  of  a  nature  so  strenuous  and  so 
exciting  that  it  might  possibly  have 
eventuated  in  something  like  a  revolu- 
tion.'— H.  Richard,  M.P.,  Speech,  1st 
January  1885. 

Everlasting  knock  (Amer.-Eng.). 
The  stroke  of  death. 

And  so  he  closes  his  career.  He  may 
be  far  happier  as  a  man  than  he  has  ever 
been,  but  as  a  ruling  prince  he  has  taken 
the  everlasting  knock.— Ref.,  10th  March 

Everything  is  nice  in  your  garden 
(Soc.,  passing  to  People,  1896  on).  A 
gentle  protest  against  self-laudation  ; 
e.g.,  'I  don't  wish  to  praise  myself, 
but  I  believe  I'm  the  greatest  living 
tenor,  in  this  world  at  all  events ! ' 
Reply:  'Yes,  yes,  everything  is  nice 
in  your  garden  ! '  This  is  said  to  be 
derived  from  one  of  the  young 
princesses  (probably  a  daughter  of 
the  Princess  Beatrice)  who  made  this 
reply  when  something  in  her  garden 
at  Osborne  was  praised  by  Her 
Majesty.  If  this  is  a  true  statement, 
it  forms  one  of  the  very  rare  phrases 
that  have  come  down  from  the  pre- 
cincts of  the  throne. 


Ewigkeit  (Soc.,  1880).  This 
German  word  for  '  eternity '  came  to 
be  used  not  so  much  in  adulation  of 
Carlyle  as  in  order  to  fall  in  with  the 
bantering  spirit  of  treating  religious 
speculation,  which  began  to  grow 
rapidly  in  this  year.  It  spread  slowly, 
and  by  1883  was  found  in  popular 

All  these  things  have  vanished 
temporarily  into  the  '  ewigkeit ',  to 
yield  the  field  to  beer  and  spirits — the 
people's  drink,  the  birthright  of  every 
free-born  Briton.— Ref.,  17th  May  1885. 

Exceedings  (Oxford).  Expenditure 
beyond  income.  A  delicate  evasion. 

Extra  (Theatrical).  An  individual 
of  the  great  brigades  who  '  go  on ',  but 
do  not  speak,  sing,  or  dance.  An 
extra  does  but  fill  the  eye.  Generally 
a  pretty  girl,  of  no  talent,  perhaps 
with  a  passion  for  the  stage — perhaps 
with  ulterior  intentions. 

Extra  pull  (Operatives').  Ad' 
vantage,  or  disadvantage,  as  the  case 
may  be.  As  an  advantage,  it  is  a 
figure  of  speech  from  the  extra  pull 
of  the  handle  of  the  beer  engine  in 
public-houses  (See  Long  Pull) — a  pull 
which  flushes  a  spirt  of  beer  into 
'  their  own  jugs '  after  the  proper 
measure,  in  the  publican's  pewter,  has 
been  shot  in.  As  a  disadvantage — 
refers  to  the  extremely  troublesome 
tooth  in  the  dentist  s  grip.  All 
depends  on  the  context. 

Extradition  Court  (Polit.).  The 
second  justice-room  at  Bow  Street 
(London).  Name  given  jocularly  by 
officials.  Good  example  of  the  mode 
in  which  passing  English  grows  out 
of  the  history  of  the  day. 

The  case  was  taken  in  the  second  court, 
which  is  commonly  called  the  Extradition 
Court,  because  nearly  all  the  extradi- 
tion cases  are  heard  in  it. — D.  N.,  10th 
April  1883. 

Extreme  Rockite  (Clerical).  One 
who  believes  in  the  Rock  newspaper, 
and  preaches  on  its  basis. 

In  a  recent  issue  of  a  contemporary, 
for  instance,  we  find  a  'liberal'  rector 
asking  for  a  fellow  labourer,  who  among 
other  qualifications  must  be  '  an  extreme 
Rockite'. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Eye  in  a  sling  (Peoples').  Crushed, 
defeated.  From  the  doleful  appear- 
ance presented  by  a  sufferer  with  a 
bandage  over  the  suffering  eye. 

Eye  Peeled 

Fake  a  Picture 

Eye    peeled    (W.    Amer.). 
well  opened  ;  peeled  away  from  droop- 
ing lids  ;  on  the  watch. 

The  Librarian  was  instructed  to  keep 
his  eye  peeled  for  a  stray  copy  of  a 
Chinese  hymn  book  which  might  be 
bought  cheap. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

F.C.'s  (Theat.).  False  Calves  (i.e. 
paddings  used  by  actors  in  heroic 
parts  to  improve  the  shape  of  the  legs). 

F.F.V.  (Anglo- Amer.  Soc.).  Dis- 
tinguished. Initials  of  First  Families 
(of)  Virginia.  Used  quite  seriously  in 
the  South  of  the  U.S.A.  and  satirically 
in  the  North.  The  origin  of  the  use 
of  the  letters  may  be  traced  to  Mas- 
singer's  City  Madam)  Act  V. ,  sc.  1  (acted 
in  1622). 

Face  the  music.  To  fearlessly 
meet  difficulties. 

Before  sailing  Mr  Cecil  Rhodes  gave  a 
brief  interview  to  some  reporters.  He 
stated  that  he  would  not  resign  his  seat 
in  the  Cape  Parliament.  '  I  shall  meet 
my  detractors.  I  will  face  the  music.' — 
D.  T.,  18th  January  1896. 

Face  ticket  (British  Museum).  A 
ticket  is  required  for  the  Reading 
Room.  It  is  never  asked  for  when  a 
constant  reader  passes  the  janitors. 
Nothing  is  said— the  passer-by  has  a 
face  ticket. 

Fade  (Pure  Amer.).  Antithesis  of 
masher  and  dude.  Either  of  these 
ornamental  beings  gone  shabby. 

A  young  lady  employed  at  one  of  the 
Exposition  displays  rather  took  the  shine 
off  of  a  fade  the  other  day.  The  fade, 
recently  a  dude,  walked  up  to  the  place 
where  she  was  stationed,  etc. — Newsp. 

Fair  cop  (Thieves').  Undoubted 
arrest ;  '  fair'  here  means  '  thorough ', 
while  '  cop '  is  from  Early  English  for 
'  catch '. 

Fair  herd  (Oxf.  Univer.).  Good 
attendance  of  strangers. 

Foreigners  are  sometimes  busy,  or  in- 
different, or  afraid  of  the  Channel,  and 
many  promising  schemes  for  a  '  fair  herd ' 
on  Commemoration  Day  have  broken 
down  owing  to  this  cause. — D.  N.,  13th 
Tune  1883. 

Fair  itch  (Street).  Utter  imitation. 
Equally  vulgar  and  vigorous. 

Fair  trod  on  (Street,  1887  on). 
Most  ill-used. 

'  Oh,  the  yeroines  o'  them  penny  nove- 
lettes— yer  'good  old  penny  ones — none 
o'  yer  'apenny  ones  for  me — o'  them 
yeroines — arn't  they  fair  trod  on  ? ' — 
Bessie  Bellwood  (serio-comic,  Jan.  1891). 

Fair  warning  (Street).  Manly  and 
frank  intimation. 

Faire  Charlemagne  (17  cent., 
Court).  To  know  when  to  leave  off — 
especially  at  cards.  A  corruption  of 
'  faire  chut  la  main ' — to  make  quiet 
the  hand  ;  that  is,  do  not  go  on  mani- 
pulating the  cards,  '  chut '  being  the 
equivalent  of  the  English  '  hush'.  Said 
to  be  used  by  Louise  de  Querouilles, 
known  as  Mother  Carwell,  and  after- 
ward as  the  Duchess  of  Portsmouth 
— a  very  economic  and  long-headed 

That  feat  which  the  French  describe 
by  the  mysterious  expression,  '  faire 
Charlemagne ' — the  feat  of  leaving  off  a 
winner — is  one  of  the  most  difficult  in  the 
world  to  perform. — D.  T.,  22nd  April 
1896.  _ 

Fairy  (Lower  Peoples).  A  de- 
bauched, hideous  old  woman,  especially 
when  drunk. 

Fairy,  To  go  a  (Theat.).  To  toss 
for  a  penn'orth  of  gin,  meaning  that  a 
fairy  takes  very  little.  In  use  amongst 
the  minor  literary  men. 

Fairy  tales  (Mid.  Class,  1899  on). 

Mr  Kruger,  for  the  information  of  his 
sympathisers  in  America,  has  told  a 
Chicago  journalist  one  of  his  pretty  little 
fairy  tales,  the  only  truth  in  which  is 
that  some  burghers  are  again  taking  up 
arms.—  D.  T.,  4th  July  1900. 

Fake  a  curtain  (Theat.,  1884). 
Reference  to  '  Take  a  curtain ',  '  Curtain- 
taker ',  and  '  Lightning  curtain-taker', 
will  alone  enable  the  student  to  com- 
prehend this  term.  To  fake  a  curtain 
is  to  agitate  the  act-drop  after  it  has 
fallen,  and  so  perhaps  thereby  induce 
a  torpid  audience  to  applaud  a  little, 
and  justify  the  waiting  actor  to  '  take 
a  curtain'.  The  manager  himself  may 
direct  this  operation,  but  it  is  generally 
the  stage-manager  who  manipulates  the 

Fake  a  picture  (Artistic,  1860  on). 
To  obtain  an  effect  by  some  adroit, 
unorthodox  means.  In  this  sense  it 
is  difficult  to  say  where  swindling  ends 
and  genius  begins.  It  is  much  used 
by  inferior  artists. 


Fake  a  Poke 

Farthing -taster 

Fake  a  poke  (Thieves').  To  pick, 
or  manipulate,  a  pocket.  This  phrase 
is  a  singular  revival.  Johnson  has 
'  Fake — amongst  seamen  a  pile  of  rope,' 
and  as  to  poke — '  a  pocket  or  small 
bag'.  '  I  will  not  buy  a  pig  in  a 
poke  !' — Camden. 

He  denied  that  when  entering  the 
music  hall  he  was  accused  by  a  larty  of 
picking  her  pocket,  and  further  said  that 
when  called  out  he  did  not  say  he  had 
never  '  faked  a  poke '  in  his  life. — People, 
6th  September  1896. 

Fake  pie  (Straitened  Soc.,  1880).— 
A  towards -the-end-of-the- week  effort 
at  pastry,  into  which  go  all  the  '  orts ', 
'  overs ',  and  '  ends '  of  the  week.  See 
Resurrection  pie— a  term  which  this 
has  superseded. 

Fakement  Chorley  (Dangerous 
Classes).  A  private  mark,  especially 
on  the  outside  of  houses  and  in  thieves' 

Fal  (Rhyming,  1868).  Represents 
'gal '(girl). 

Fall  in  the  thick  (Street).  To  be- 
come dead  drunk.  Full  of  metaphor. 
Black  beer  is  called  thick,  so  is  mud ; 
the  phrase  suggests  equal  misery 
whether  the  patient  plunged  in  the 
mud,  or  rambled  into  drunkenness. 

Fall-downs  (Street,  19  cent.).  The 
fragments  of  cookshop  puddings  which 
fall  down  while  rapidly  slicing  up  the 
puddings  for  sale  ;  fragments  which 
are  finally  collected  on  a  plate,  and 
sold  for  a  halfpenny.  A  boy  will  rush 
in,  and,  with  the  air  of  a  general  at 
least,  say:  "A'porth  o'  fall-downs'. 
Conquered  when  the  reply  comes, 
'Hall  sold!' 

Fancy  oneself  (Mid.  Classes).  On 
good  terms  with  oneself. 

They  had  never  known  a  Government 
which,  if  he  might  use  the  language  of 
the  street,  'fancied  itself '  to  the  extent 
to  which  the  present  Government  did. — 
D.  T.,  14th  December  1897. 

Fanned  with  a  slipper  (Amer.- 
Eng.,  1880  on).  Simply  spanked,  the 
vibratory  action  suggesting  the  fan- 

Miss  Lulu  Valli  made  a  hit  at  once 
as  the  demon  child,  Birdikins,  who  is 
threatened  to  be  'fanned  with  the 
slipper'  of  her  devoted  but  erratic 
mother.— D.  T.,  2nd  February  1897. 

Fanning  the  hammer  ( W.  Amer., 
1886).  Brilliantly  unscrupulous.  In- 
stantaneously active,  equal  to  ener- 

getic in  the  highest.  Example  of 
application  of  one  term  to  varying 
meanings.  Derived  from  West  Ameri- 
can gamblers  wiring  back  the  trigger 
of  their  revolvers,  so  that  its  stop- 
action  is  arrested.  The  six  barrels  of 
the  revolver  are  discharged  by  rapidly 
striking  back  the  hammer  with  the 
outer  edge  of  the  right  hand,  while 
the  revolver  is  held  in  the  left.  This 
vibratory  action  of  the  right  hand  is 
the  fanning.  No  aim  can  be  taken, 
and  fanning  is  only  successful  in  a 
crowd.  Six  bullets  will  generally 
clear  a  crowd.  So  rapid  is  word  adap- 
tation in  the  States  that  already  the 
term  'fanner'  is  used  to  describe  an 
unscrupulously  brave  man. 

Far  away  (Lower  Classes,  1884). 
Pawned.  From  a  song,  a  parody  upon 
'  Far,  far  away '.  One  line  ran, 
'  Where  are  my  Sunday  clothes?'  To 
which  the  singer  answered,  '  Far,  far 
away '.  The  '  far  away '  is  mine 
uncle's.  Passed  into  a  verb;  e.g.,  'I 
far-awayed  my  tools  this  blessed  day 
-I  did!' 

Far  gone  (Theat.,  1882).  Ex- 
hausted, or  worn  out,  figuratively. 

Miss  Gilchrist,  who  has  now  matured 
into  a  well-formed  young  woman,  is 
what  I  should  call  a  vocal  defaulter,  her 
singing  being  '  far  gone '.  —  Entr'acte, 
April  1883. 

Farcidrama  (Theat.,  1885).  A 
failure  comedy  of  a  farcical  char- 
acter, tied  with  a  thread  of  serious 
interest.  Discovered  by  Mr  Ashley 
Sterry  to  describe  a  posthumous  half- 
finished  comedy  by  H.  J.  Byron,  and 
named  The  Shuttlecock— one  which  Mr 
Sterry  quite  finished.  It  failed,  and 
this  word  at  once  came  to  be  used  to 
describe  a  failure  of  any  light  piece. 
'It  was  a  farcidrama'  —  meaning  a 

To  begin  with,  the  description  of  The 
Shuttlecock  as  a  '  farcidrama  in  three 
acts  and  a  song '  may  be  set  down  to  the 
living  rather  than  to  the  dead  dramatist. 
— Re/. ,  17th  May  1885. 

Farthing-faced  chit  (Peoples'). 
Small,  mean-faced,  as  insignificant  as 
a  farthing.  Chit  also  means  small  and 

Farthing-taster  (Street  Children's, 
1870  on).  Lowest  quantity  of  com- 
monest ice  -  cream  sold  by  London 
street  itinerant  ice-cream  vendors. 

In  other  shops  may  be  seen  hundreds 
of  the  thick,  small  glasses  in  which  the 



Feel  like  accepting  It 

'  farthing-taster '  will  be  dealt  out  to 
their  juvenile  consumers. — Newsp.  Cut- 
ting, 27th  June  1898. 

Fastened  (Lanes.}.     Pawned. 

Fastidious  cove  (London,  1882). 
A  droll  phrase  for  a  fashionable 
swindler,  who  pretends  to  be  of  the 
upper  ten. 

You  can  always  tell  the  '  fastidious 
cove  '  by  his  sending  twenty-seven  cuffs 
and  collars  to  the  laundry  accompanied 
by  a  single  shirt. — Cutting. 

Fat  ale  (Peoples',  early  19  cent.}. 
Strong  ale— as  distinct  from  weak  ale, 
which  is  'thin'. 

4 1  was  stupefied  as  much  as  if  I  had 
committed  a  debauch  upon  fat  ale.' — 
Marryatt,  Rattlin  the  Reefer,  ch.  58. 

Fat  will  burn  itself  out  of  the  fire 
(Peoples'}.  Antithesis  of  '  All  the  fat's 
in  the  fire '. 

After  a  while,  however,  the  fat  burnt 
itself  out  of  the  fire,  and  the  happy 
couple  seemed  to  get  on  very  comfort- 
ably.— Cutting. 

Favourite  vice  (Jovial,  1880). 
General  habitual  strong  drink. 

'I  have  watched  the  Prince's  pro- 
gress,' says  His  Worship,  'and  I  am 
glad  to  say  there  has  been  progress ; 
for  at  one  time  I  did  not  entertain  a 
particularly  high  opinion  of  him.  I 
rather  thought  that  the  Prince  cared 
more  for  his  pleasures  and,  I  may  as 
well  say,  for  his  vices,  than  for  the 
duties  of  his  high  position.'  Of  course, 
the  word  'vices'  is  here  used  in  a 
harmless  sense :  for  example,  when  the 
bottles  and  the  cigar-case  are  to  the  fore, 
even  a  bishop  may  enquire  of  you,  with 
a  jovial  smile  of  boon  companionship, 
What  is  your  favourite  vice? — D.  N., 
6th  October  1885. 

Fearful  frights  (Peoples'}.  Kicks, 
in  the  most  humiliating  quarters. 

I  shouldn't  like  to  be  in  James  Carey's 
boots — his  trousers  either,  if  all  I  hear  is 
true.  He's  had  some  fearful  frights,  you 
bet.— Cutting. 

Fearful  wild  fowl  (Soc.}.  From 
Shakespeare's  line,  any  extraordinary 
creature  not  often  seen  ;  even  applied 
to  men  making  antic  fools  of 

A  full  programme  of  the  Show  is  a 
formidable  study,  but  a  patient  plodding 
through  it  shows  that  the  fearful  wild 
fowl  mentioned  are  really  to  take  a  part 
in  the  pageant.— D.  N.,  10th  November 

Feather  in  her  mouth  (Marine). 
Capable  of  showing  temper,  but  hold- 

ing it  in.  Poetical  description  of  the 
merest  idea  of  foam  at  the  point  where 
a  ship's  cut- water  touches  the  wave, 
and  which  shows  there  either  has  been, 
or  will  be,  dirty  weather. 

So  to  Elba  the  Foam  was  now  directing 
her  course,  dancing  lightly  along  upon  a 
sparkling  and  nearly  smooth  surface, 
with  only  just  enough  movement  during 
the  later  portion  of  the  day  to  keep 
a  very  small  '  feather  in  her  mouth '. — 
Sir  E.  Arnold,  in  D.  T.,  31st  March 

Feather  in  the  cap  (Hist. }.  Prob- 
ably from  Scotland,  where  only  he  who 
had  shot  an  eagle  dared  to  wear  a 
feather  in  his  cap. 

Features.  Practically  no  features 
worth  talking  about.  Satirical-like 
expression,  e.g.,  'Hullo,  Features!' 
'  Face '  is  used  similarly. 

Fed  (Amer.,  1860-65).  Abbrevia- 
tion of  federal,  given  to  themselves 
by  the  Northerners,  whereupon  the 
Southerners  cut  themselves  down  to 
Confeds,  and  met  the  Northerners  at 

Fed  up  with  (Boer  War,  1899- 
1900).  Overdone,  oppressed,  filled 

'  Oh,  I'm  about  fed  up  with  it '  is  the 
current  slang  of  the  camps  when  officers 
and  men  speak  of  the  war. — D.  T.,  20th 
October  1900. 

Feeder  (Theat.,  1880).  Actor  or 
actress  whose  part  simply  feeds  that 
of  a  more  important  comedian.  Took 
the  place  of  the  '  confidante '  in  opera. 

Feeding  birk  (Thieves'}.  Cook- 
shop  —  '  birk '  being  possibly  a  cor- 
ruption of  '  barrack '. 

You  have  to  be  a  bit  cheeky  to  go  into 
a  feeding  birk  to  order  pannum  good 
enough  for  a  prince  without  a  D  in  your 
clye. — Cutting. 

Feel  cheap  (Peoples',  1890). 
Humiliated,  e.g.,  'Every  other  girl  was 
in  white,  and  I  felt  quite  cheap.' 

Feel  like  (Amer.-Eng.,  1884). 
Inclined  towards. 

'  Do  you  feel  like  brandy  and  water  ? ' 
is  certainly  an  incorrect  question  (even 
grammatically)  in  England.  Across  the 
sea  we  believe  the  observation  means, 
'  Do  you  feel  inclined  to  partake,  at  my 
charge,  of  the  refreshment  of  cognac  and 
water?'—/).  N.,  16th  April  1885. 

Feel  like  accepting  it  (Amer.).  To 
repent,  be  humble. 

In  his  death  we  has  lost  a  good  man, 
but  we  has  at  de  same  time  gained  some 


Feel  One's  Oats 


waluable  experience,  in  case  we  feel  like 
accepting  it. — Lime-kiln  Club,  1883. 

Feel  one's  oats  (Amer.  -  Eng. ). 
Certain  to  be  active.  Figure  of  speech 
from  the  work  got  out  of  a  well  oat- fed 
horse,  e.g.,  'You  needn't  be  afraid — 
he's  a  man  that  feels  his  oats.' 

Feel  the  collar  (Stable).  To 
perspire  in  walking. 

Feel  very  cheap  (Mid. -class  Eng., 
1885  on).  Antithesis  of  self-sufficiency. 
Generally  refers  to  condition  when 
recovering  from  dissipation. 

Does  some  brother  officer  adjacent 
'feel  very  cheap'  after  some  midnight 
revelry ;  or  how  comes  it  that  my  host 
is  not  in  the  way  ? — Clement  Scott,  in 
D.  T.,  21st  January  1893. 

Female  personator  (Music  -  hall). 
Another  misnomer  (see  Male  im- 
personator), for  the  performer  is  a 
male  who  impersonates  female  appear- 
ance, singing,  and  dancing.  A  man 
who  dresses  and  acts  like  a  woman, 
while  the  male  impersonator  is  a 
woman  who  dresses  and  acts  like  a 
man.  These  interchanges  of  sexual 
appearance  are  still  much  relished  on 
the  music-hall  stage. 

Fenian  (Peoples',  1882  on).  Three 
cold  Irish,  i.e.,  threepence  worth  of 
Irish  whisky  and  cold  water.  Brevity 
is  the  soul  of  cruel  as  of  brilliant  wit. 
In  this  instance  the  wit  is  very  cruel, 
for  it  refers  to  the  hanging  and  there- 
fore coldening  of  the  three  Fenians 
who  were  hanged  for  the  murder  of 
Lord  Frederick  Cavendish  and  Mr 
Burke,  Under-Secretary  for  Ireland, 
in  the  Phoenix  Park,  Dublin,  on  6th 
May  1882.  Other  authorities  say  that 
the  three  Irish,  here  referred  to  with 
such  grim  humour,  were  the  Fenians 
Allen,  Larkin  and  O'Brien,  hanged  at 
Manchester  for  the  murder  of  Police 
Sergeant  Brett.  They  are  called  by 
the  Irish  national  party  '  the  Man- 
chester martyrs '.  In  Manchester  itself 
the  '  3  cold  Irish '  became  at  public- 
house  bars  —  '  Give  me  a  Fenian '. 
The  term  spread  all  over  England. 
(See  Got  a  clock.) 

Fewer  of  him  (Amer. -Eng.,  1880). 
Expression  of  congratulation  at  absence 
of  numbers  in  the  given  case. 

An  English  judge  is  a  much  more  con- 
spicuous personage  than  a  judge  in  any 
foreign  country.  His  salary  is  higher, 
his  social  position  is  better,  and  there 

are,  to  use  an  expressive  Americanism, 
'  fewer  of  him '. — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Fiddle-face  (Peoples^.  A  doleful 
face,  widening  abnormally  at  the 
temples  and  jaws,  and  sinking  at  the 
cheek  bones. 

Put  on  a  fiddle-face  and  jaw  to  him 
about  his  future,  and  it's  most  likely  he 
and  his  mates  will  slosh  your  mug  for 
you  and  sneak  your  yack. — Cutting. 

Fiddler  (Racing).  Fille  de  I'air — a 
French  horse.  The  Anglicization  of  the 
names  of  foreign  horses  is  a  positive 
study  in  itself.  English  racing  men 
who  speak  French  always  accept  the 
English  baptism. 

Another  stud  horse,  Peut-Etre,  always 
called  in  the  English  betting  ring 
'Potater'  was,  as  well  as  a  few  other 
lots,  bought  in. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

In  the  case  of  Volodyovski  (Derby 
winner,  1901)  no  Anglicization  was 
possible,  so  the  pencillers  tried  an 
assonance,  and  styled  him  Bottle  o' 
Whisky,  and  it  is  interesting  in  this 
connection  to  observe  that  in  all 
professions  and  trades  uncommon 
proper  names  are  always  Anglicized — 
roughly,  absurdly,  no  doubt ;  but  this 
process  clears  away  all  doubt  as  to 
pronunciation.  For  instance,  in  the 
Navy  sailors  always  simplify  a  hard- 
named  ship.  A  person  had  a  vessel 
named  the  Spero,  which  was  corrupted 
into  Sparrow.  As  for  Psyche,  what 
they  called  her  can  scarcely  be  men- 
tioned in  decent  company.  Another 
person  bought  a  vessel  called  the 
Daedalus,  which  was  called  the  Dead- 

Field  Lane  duck  (Holborn,  Lond.\ 
Baked  bullock's  heart.  A  good 
example  of  lower  peoples'  habit  of 
satirising  their  own  poverty.  This 
bake  is  made  savoury,  and  is  the 
nearest  approach  to  duck  possible, 
exactly  as  baked  liver  with  sage  and 
onions  is  called  '  poor  man's  goose '. 
Field  Lane  was  a  near  neighbour  of 
Saffron  Hill,  where  Dickens's  Fagin 
reigned ;  London  improvements  have 
nearly  swept  it  away.  Field  Lane  is 
great  in  the  annals  of  charity  as  the 
locality  where  first  a  night  refuge  was 

Field-running  (Builders',  1860). 
Building  rickety  houses  rapidly  over 
suburban  fields.  Introduced  when  the 
district  railways  brought  small  sub- 
urban houses  into  fashion. 


Fiery  Cross 

Fin  de  Siecle 

Fiery  cross  (Liter.,  19  cent). 
Warning  of  dagger.  Probably  from 
Scott— who  introduces  this  naming 
mode  of  carrying  news  of  clan-risings. 
The  Police  send  round  the  Fiery 
Cross:— 'Idle  Panic'  was  the  headline 
by  which  we  described  in  our  later 
editions  of  yesterday  the  extraordinary 
alarm  which  seized  upon  the  metropolis, 
and  nothing  which  occurred  during  the 
evening  calls  for  any  modification  of 
that  description.  —  P.  M.  6?.,  llth 
February  1886. 

Fifteen  puzzle  (Mid. -class  Eng.). 
Complete  confusion.  The  fifteen 
puzzle  was  an  arrangement  of  move- 
able  cubes  bearing  numbers  which 
were  to  be  arranged  in  a  square,  so 
that  every  line  counted  fifteen.  It 
was  very  difficult  and  became  a  rage 
(1879).  It  soon  came  to  represent 
confusion,  incomprehensibility. 

The  syrup  cup  was,  for  a  while,  a 
fifteen-puzzle  for  the  bear.— American 
Bear  Story,  1883. 

Fight  space  with  a  hair-pin 
(Oxford  Univ.,  1882).  A  figurative 
way  of  describing  the  impossible. 

Fighting  Fours  (Milit.).  The 
44th  Regiment. 

The  44th  East  Essex  loses  nothing  of 
its  identity  in  being  called  '  The  Essex 
Regiment'  except,  perhaps,  that  the 
signification  of  The  Fighting  Fours  is 
hardly  so  clear  as  it  was.— D.  N.,  July, 

Fighting  the  tiger  (San  Francisco). 
Gaming,  with  all  its  consequences ; 
some  of  which  are  desperate.  Practi- 
cally applied — desperate  game. 

He  asked  me  if  I  had  ever  heard  of 
Faro,  and  if  I  knew  the  meaning  of 
'  fighting  the  tiger '.  Soon  afterwards  I 
learned  that  I  was  conversing  with  the 
keeper  of  one  of  the  most  notable  among 
the  gaming  hells  of  San  Francisco. — 

Figure-head  (Nautical).  The  head 
simple,  and  suggested  of  course  by  the 
prow-terminal  of  most  English  ships. 

A  cove  can,  too,  if  he  likes,  spend  the 
half  of  his  bob  in  pongelow  and  the 
other  tanner  in  bread  and  cheese,  but 
we  think  he's  likely  to  stop  out  of  collar 
longer  than  a  cove  who  doesn't  cloud  his 
blooming  figure-head  with  booze. 

We  have  onoe  or  twice  landed  our 
blooming  figure-head  on  the  kerb. 

Filbert  (Street).  Head— variety  of 
1  nut '  to  describe  the  same.  Prob- 
ably applied  to  a  long-shaped  head. 
Derived  from  prize  ring. 

'  Yere — come  and  look  at  the  bloke 
standin'  on  his  filbert,'  said  the  boy. 

Filibuster  (Amer.).  To  obstruct, 
impede  business. 

The  Senate  had  an  all-night  sitting, 
the  Republicans  filibustered  from  six 
P.M.  till  early  morning.  To  '  filibuster  ' 
means  in  its  Parliamentary  sense  to 
obstruct.—  Newsp.  Cutting,  1882. 

Filing -lay  (Thieves',  18  cent.). 
Pocket -picking.  Fielding's  Jonathan 
Wild.  Probably  from  the  French  « fil ' 
— thread — from  threading  the  fingers 
in  the  pocket. 

Fill  the  bill  (Amer.)  To  suit. 
I  have  a  tree  claim  and  homestead, 
am  a  good  cook  and  not  afraid  to  work, 
and  willing  to  do  my  part.  If  any  man 
with  a  like  amount  of  land,  and  decent 
face  and  carcass,  wants  a  good  wife,  I 
can  fill  the  bill.— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Fill,  To  give  a  (Thieves').  To 
deceive,  e.g.,  'I  gave  the  blue  belly  a 
fill' — would  mean  that  you  sent  the 
policeman  on  a  wrong  scent. 

Fills  a  gentleman's  eye  (Sporting). 
Shapely — possessed  of  thoroughly  good 

What  do  we  not  suffer  from  other 
people's  dogs  ?  Our  own,  of  course,  is  a 
treasure  of  love  and  loyalty,  he  has  a 
splendid  nose,  is  perfectly  purely  bred, 
and,  in  short,  as  doggy  people  say,  '  he 
fills  a  gentleman's  eye'.— D.  N.,  1875. 

Filly  (Ball-room).  A  lady  who 
goes  racing  pace  in  round  dances,  e.g., 
'  She's  the  quickest  filly  in  the  barn. ' 
Either  from  French  'fille',  or  in  refer- 
ence to  the  use  of  the  word  in  stables. 
'  Colt '  is  often  applied  to  an  active 

Filly  and  foal  (Peoples').  A  young 
couple  of  lovers  sauntering  apart  from 
the  world. 

Fin  de  siecle  (Soc.,  1897  on).  Ex- 
treme in  literature,  art,  and  music. 
From  Paris — adopted  here  in  a  con- 
demnatory spirit.  Within  a  year  in 
London  was  introduced  the  phrase 
'New  Century'  —  first  applied  in  a 
public  manner  to  the  'New  Century 
Theatre  Society' — whose  plays  were 
based  upon  the  Ibsen  theories  of  life. 
The  authors  appear  to  have  thought 
these  words  typical  of  the  20th  cen- 
tury, whereas  Ibsen  towards  the  close 
of  the  19th  century  had  been  writing 
for  more  than  fifty  years,  and  had  long 
been  a  classic  in  Scandinavia  and,  in  a 
lees  degree,  throughout  Germania. 


Find  Cold  Weather 


Find  cold  weather  (Public-house). 
To  be  bounced,  or  expelled  ;  e.g.,  '  Yere 
you — if  you  ain't  quiet  you'll  soon  find 
cold  weather  /  can  tell  yer '. 

Finger  and  thumb  (Rhyming). 

Finger  in  the  pie  (Peoples').  Ob- 
vious— and  based  upon  the  philosophy 
of  too  many  cooks  spoiling  the  broth. 

Finish  (Soc.,  1830).  A  house  where 
the  night  (which  was  next  morning 
about  4  A.M.)  was  finished  by  the 
exhaustion  of  the  debauche". 

'  We  are  writing  of  the  days  when 
the  Elysium,  Mother  H.'s,  The  Finish, 
Jessop's,  etc.,  were  in  their  zenith  and 
glory.' — Diprose's  Clement  Danes,  vol. 
i.,  p.  98. 

'  Let  us  go  to  a  finish — say  Jessop's '. 
Jessop's  finally  expired  about  1885.  It 
was  the  building  afterwards  occupied 
by  the  Echo  newspaper.  Opposite  was 
the  celebrated  place  of  accommodation, 
'  The  Fountain '  —  significant  title, 
which  had  then/  been  established  hun- 
dreds of  years. 

In  1896,  King  William  Street, 
Strand,  saw  the  opening  of  a  brilliantly- 
appointed  lounge  entitled  '  The  Finale', 
assuredly  good  Italian  for  finish  ;  a 
sign  the  proprietor  had  brought  with 
him  from  South  Africa. 

Fire  (out)  (0.  Eng. ;  now  Amer. — 
reaching  Eng.  1896).  To  eject.  Pro- 
bably from  14th  century,  the  phrase 
being  invented  from  the  summary  pro- 
cess of  the  first  cannon.  '  Let  us  fire 
him '  is  equivalent  to  '  bounce  him '. 

Then  they  thought  his  objection  to  the 
spending  of  £20  on  a  lecture — and  its 
necessary  or  needful  accompaniments — 
on  the  interesting  and  entertaining  sub- 
ject of  '  Bacteriology '  too  much  of  a 
good  thing,  so  they  had  him  '  fired '  from 
the  meeting.— E.  N.,  10th  Feb.  1899. 

The  Americanism  '  to  fire  out '  is  seen 
in  a  sonnet  of  Shakespeare's : 
'  Yet  this  shall  I  not  know,  nor  live  in  doubt, 

Till  my  bad  angels  fire  my  good  one  out.' 
This  instance  shows  that  in  the  matter  of 
the  mother  -  tongue  common  to  both 
countries,  Yankees  are  even  more  con- 
servative of  the  '  well  of  English '  than 
Britishers  themselves.—  Rees,  U.S.A. 

Fire-box  (Passionate  Pilgrims').  A 
man  of  unceasing  passion. 

Fire-new* (Prov.  Potteries').  '  Brand- 
new',  absolutely  new — from  drawing 
pottery  from  the  oven  or  furnace. 

It  seems  an  incongruity,  an  impossi- 

bility, for  the  sculptor  and  painter  of 
such  forms  as  those  we  owe  to  Watt's 
genius  to  become  suddenly  a  '  fire-new  ' 
baronet.—  D.  N.,  1st  July  1885,  referring 
to  offer  of  baronetcy  to  Mr  Watts. 

Fire-proof  coffin  (Amer.).  A  last 
house  which  will  resist  the  action  of 
the  nethermost  region.  Said  of  a  bad 
man  that  he  will  need  one. 

'  My  pa  says  that  if  your  pa  would  stay 
at  home  from  prayer  meetin'  to  mix  a 
little  more  sugar  with  the  sand  he  sells 
for  fourteen  cents  a  pound,  p'raps  he 
might  not  need  a  fire-proof  coffin  when 
he  dies '. — Newsp.  Cutting. 

Fire  the  question  (Amer.).  To 
propose  marriage. 

First  on  the  top-sail  and  last  in 
the  beef-skid  (Navy).  Truly  perfect 
able-bodied  seaman.  More  in  praise 
could  not  be  said  of  him. 

Fish-bagger  (Suburban).  Suburban 
resident  who  working  in  the  city,  or  in 
town,  generally  takes  home  food,  espe- 
cially cheap  fish,  in  that  respectable 
black  bag  which  looks  so  very  legal. 

The  tradesman  shook  his  head,  and 
explained  that  '  fish-bagger '  was  a  con- 
tumelious term  applied  to  those  who  live 
in  good  suburbs  without  spending  a  penny 
there  beyond  rent. — Graphic,  27th  Sep- 
tember 1884. 

Fishy  about  the  gills  (Street). 
Appearance  of  recent  drunkenness. 
Derived  from  very  acute  observation. 
Drink  produces  a  pull-down  of  the 
corners  of  the  mouth,  and  a  consequent 
squareness  of  the  lower  cheeks  or  gills, 
suggesting  the  gill -shields  in  fishes. 

Fit  in  the  arm  (Street,  1897).  A 
blow.  In  June  1897  one  Tom  Kelly 
was  given  into  custody  by  a  woman  for 
striking  her.  His  defence  before  the 
magistrate  took  the  shape  of  the  decla- 
ration that  '  a  fit  had  seized  him  in  the 
arm ',  and  for  months  afterwards  back 
street  frequenters  called  a  blow  a  fit. 

Fit-up  towns  ( Theat. ,  1880).  Poor, 
behind-the-times  places  which  cannot 
boast  a  theatre  amongst  them. 

Perhaps  you  don't  know  what  the  '  fit- 
up  towns '  are.  Let  me  tell  you.  They 
are  the  towns  which  do  not  possess  a 
theatre,  and  which  are  therefore  only 
visited  by  small  companies  carrying  port- 
able scenery,  which  can  be  fitted  up  in  a 
hall  or  an  assembly  room. — Ref.,  22nd 
July  1883. 

Fitz  (Peoples').  Royal  natural  chil- 
dren —  derivation  obvious.  Broadly 


Five-barred  Gate 

Flag  Unfurled 

applied  amongst  old  theatrical  people 
to  the  invasion  of  the  stage  by  educated 
persons  of  position  or  fortune. 

'  I  wish  all  the  fitzes  in  the  world  were 
at  the  bottom  of  the  sea.'— Said  by  a 
young  stage  manager,  October  1883. 

Five-barred  gate  (London  Streets, 
1886  on).-  -A  policeman,  from  the  force 
being  chiefly  recruited  from  the  agri- 
cultural class. 

The  evidence  against  the  defendant, 
given  by  Constable  308  A,  was  that  whilst 
in  company  with  a  woman  he  abused  him 
(the  policeman)  without  reason,  asking 
how  long  he  had  been  away  from  a  '  five- 
barred  gate'  (the  country).—!).  N.,  2nd 
July  1890. 

Five  o'clock  tea  (Soc.,  1879). 
Strictly  tea,  and  nothing  beyond, 
except  a  wafer  biscuit,  a  little  more 
wafery  bread  and  butter,  and  perhaps 
a  microscopic  cake,  if  it  is  a  society 
holiday.  Came  to  be  added  first  to 
the  ordinary  refreshmentless  call 
between  three  and  five  P.M.  Five 
o'clock  tea  has  gradually  stolen  up 
to  a  four  o'clock  teapot,  for  people 
came  in  a  crowd,  and  the  old  exclu- 
sive puritanic  plan  of  one  visitor 
retreating  as  another  came,  or  retired, 
even  if  solus-visiting  at  the  end  of  a 
quarter  of  an  hour  was  abandoned. 

Five  or  seven  (Police;  London, 
1885).  Drunk.  From  'five  shillings 
or  seven  days',  the  ordinary  London 
magisterial  decision  upon  '  drunks ' 
unknown  to  the  police,  and  reduced  by 
Mr  Hosack,  a  metropolitan  magistrate, 
to  five  or  seven. 

Another  is,  '  Arthur  Eoberts  in  dress 
allegorical  of  five  or  seven,  as  Mr  Hosack.' 
Mr  Hosack,  as  many  of  my  readers  may 
not  be  aware,  is  a  magistrate,  and  '  five 

or  seven'    means but   no    matter. — 

Ref.,  17th  January  1886. 

Fiveoclocquer  (Paris-Eng.,  1896). 
Afternoon  tea. 

Every  one,  we  suppose,  has  heard  of 
the  delightful  French  phrase,  '  five- 
oclocquer  a  quatre  heures ',  which  is, 
perhaps,  the  noblest  achievement  of  the 
art  of  word-coining  in  sublime  contempt 
of  meaning. — Newsp.  Cutting,  24th  June 

Five  -  pounders  (Jersey).  Not  a 
piece  of  ordnance— but  cheap  excur- 
sionists, who  fall  upon  Jersey  in  high 
summer-time,  and  who  make  a  stay  of 
three  or  four  roaring  days,  having  this 


sum  when  they  start,  and  nothing  by 
the  time  they  reach  London. 

The  five-pounders  are  usually  of  the 
genus  'Arry.  They  are  not  unwelcomed 
in  Jersey,  so  long  as  their  five  pounds 
last.— Graphic,  31st  March  1883. 

Fiz  (Society).     Champagne. 

Pat  Feeney  has  sworn  off  fiz,  and  will 
never  touch  a  drop  for  the  rest  of  his  life. 
Not  even  a  drop  of  whisky.  Another 
injustice  to  Oireland.— Cutting,  1883. 

Pat  was  a  patriotic  singer  of  Irish 
songs,  and  constantly  wailing  over  the 
'  green  sod '  of  his  native  land. 

Fizzle  (out)  (Peoples').  To  fail,  and 
a  failure  ;  from  the  noise  made  by  the 
gas  escaping  from  aerated  waters  when 
the  corks  fail,  so  that  the  water  has  no 
effervescent  quality  when  opened. 

Gale  and  Spader's  '  Fizz-Bang-Boom  ' 
company  has  fizzled  out  in  San  Francisco. 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

It  is  a  foolish,  highly-peppered  story  of 
love,  intrigue  and  politics.  It  was  little 
better  than  fizzle.—  N.  Y.  Tribune. 

Flabbergast  (Briv.  Class).  To 
astound.  Rejected  of  most  lexico- 
graphers, but  accepted  of  all  men. 
Probably  a  proper-name  word,  possibly 
Phil  Applegarth  or  Applegast. 

The  goings  on  of  Cock-Eyed  Sal  flabber- 
gasted him  much,  but  he  was  spliced 
to  her,  and  he  couldn't  help  it.— Cutting. 

Flag  (Printers').  Woeful  expression 
referring  to  an  ' out ' ;  that  is  to  say, 
some  missed  words  in  setting  up  a 
piece  of  'copy'.  This  may  involve 
over-running  a  number  of  lines  at  a 
frightful  expense  of  time.  Taken 
from  the  aspect  of  the  '  out '  words 
written  at  the  side  of  the  proof  and 
enclosed  in  a  loop  ;  a  line  leading  from 
the  nearer  end  of  which  concludes  in 
the  caret  which  marks  the  point  in 
the  copy  where  the  missing  words  are 

Flag  of  distress  (Street).  A  boy's 
shirt  through  a  too-open  trousers-seat. 
From  the  flag  of  a  distress  on  a  ship 
being  white — because  more  easily  seen  ; 
though  perhaps  the  flag  in  question  is 
only  more  or  less  white. 

Flag  unfurled  (Rhyming).  A  man 
of  the  world— passing  into  flag,  after 
the  mode  of  rhyming  English  of  a 
passing  character. 

A  cove  who  fancies  himself  a  flag 
unfurled  is  very  now  or  never  we  don't 
think. — Cutting. 


Flash  o'  Light 

Flam  (Soc.  18  cent.).  Fib— rather 
than  lie.  Quite  passed  away  from 
London,  but  still  heard  in  the  counties. 
Probably  from  a  proper  name.  Johnson 
says,  '  a  cant  word  of  no  certain 
etymology '.  Words  from  proper  names 
really  have  no  etymology.  Butler 
(Hudibras)  uses  this  word  : 

A    flam    more    senseless    than    the 

Of  old  aruspicy  and  augury ! 

Miss  "Wilhelmina  Skeggs  (Vicar  oj 
Wakefield)  is  great  in  the  use  of  this 
term.  May  be  from  Flamborough 
Head,  whence,  in  the  17th  century, 
came  false  continental  news,  exactly 
as  '  Humbug '  came  to  be  the  term 
applied  to  continental  false  news  from 

Flannel -jacket  (Contractors'). 
Familiar  name  for  the  gigantic  navvy 
who,  without  exception,  wears  this 
garment.  Generally  pronounced 
'  flannin ',  flannel  being  a  hard  word 
from  Wales.  Tom  Taylor  used  the 
term  in  a  scene  of  the  Ticket  of  Leave 
Man.  '  Hey  -  sup  (drink)  thou  dear 
flannin -jacket.' 

Flap -jack  invalid  (Amer.).  A 
victim  of  dissipation. 

'  Keduce  the  nation  to  a  vast  hospital 
of  flap-jack  invalids.' — Texas  Siftings. 

Flapper  (Lower  Class).  Hand — 
sometimes  flipper.  Possibly  from  the 
slapping  movement  of  the  hand 
suggesting  the  striking  tail  or  fins  of 
a  fish— when  the  word  would  be  an 
onomatope — its  sound  being  that  of 
the  flap  of  a  fish  on  wet  sand  or  stones. 
Said  by  some  authorities  to  have  a 
very  disagreeable  meaning. 

Flapper  (Society).  A  very  immoral 
young  girl  in  her  early  '  teens '. 

A  correspondent  of  Notes  and  Queries 
has  been  troubling  his  mind  about  the 
use  of  the  slang  word  '  flapper '  as 
applied  to  young  girls.  Another  corre- 
spondent points  out  that  a  'flapper'  is 
a  young  wild  duck  which  is  unable  to  fly, 
hence  a  little  duck  of  any  description, 
human  or  otherwise.  The  answer  seems 
at  first  sight  frivolous  enough,  but  it  is 
probably  the  correct  solution  of  this 
interesting  problem  all  the  same. — 
E.  N.,  20th  August  1892. 

Flare-up  (Peoples',  19  cent.).  A 
stir,  riot,  disturbance — obviously  from 
a  house  on  fire. 

'Flare-up'  at  the  present  time  is  a 
purely  jocular  interjection.  A  noisy 
revel  is  very  often  spoken  of  by  bac- 
chanalians as  '  a  jolly  flare  -  up ' ;  but 
sixty  -  three  years  ago  '  flare-up '  had 
another  and  a  very  sinister  signification. 
To  it  was  added  the  admonition  '  to  join 
the  Union '.  '  Flare-up  and  join  the 
Union  ! '  The  Union  part  of  the  cry  is 
associated  in  my  mind  with  processions 
of  working  men,  yelling  and  cursing 
and  bearing  banners  embellished  with 
death's  -  heads  and  cross  -  bones,  and 
inscriptions  about  '  Bread  or  Blood '  ; 
while  '  flare-up '  had  a  direct  bearing  on 
incendiarism.— G.  A.  Sala  in  D.T.,  28th 
July  1894. 

Flash  (Thieves').  Imitation  gold 
coins — the  name  probably  suggested 
by  their  glitter.  Sometimes  called 
'  Hanoverian '  sovereigns  —  a  term 
originating  probably  upon  the  accession 
of  the  House  of  Brunswick — looked 
upon  by  all  true  Jacobites  as  counter- 
feit. The  last  occasion  where  these 
terms  were  in  transitory  use  was  at  the 
trial  (1881)  of  one  Lefroy,  for  murder. 
The  attorney-general,  Sir  Henry  James 
(afterwards  Lord  James  of  Hereford), 
prosecuted.  In  his  opening  speech  he 
said  : 

'  Precisely  similar  coins — the  '  flash  ' 
or  Hanoverian  sovereigns  found  in  the 
carriage,  which  Lefroy  repudiated,  etc.' 
— Newsp.  Cutting. 

Flash  (Milit.).  A  ribbon  decoration 
of  the  23rd  Koyal  Welsh  Fusiliers. 

It  is  easy  to  imagine  the  indignation 
which  would  be  displayed  at  any  attempt 
to  deprive  the  officers  of  the  23rd  Royal 
Welsh  Fusiliers  of  their  right  to  wear 
what  is  called  '  the  Flash  '.  This  orna- 
ment consists  of  a  black  ribbon  sewed 
on  to  the  back  of  the  tunic-collar,  and 
allowed  to  flutter  in  the  breeze  in 
imitation  of  the  tie  of  the  old  pig-tail. — 
D.N.,  July  1881. 

Flash  (Street).  Grand,  splendid. 
Evidently  derived  from  strong  flash  of 

They're  so  flash  that  it's  a  blooming 
wonder  they  know  themselves. — Cutting, 

Flash  dona  (Thieves').  A  high- 
class  low-class  lady. 

'  I  was  always  a  real  lady,  as  much  as 
any  flash  dona  what  gets  her  portrait 
took  and  then  goes  on  the  boards.'  — 


Flash    o'    light    (New    Cut,    S. 
London).     Complimentary  description 

Flat  as  a  Frying-pan 

Fly  Member 

of  a  woman  dressed  upon  the  model  of 
the  rainbow. 

Flat  as  a  frying-pan  (Peoples',  old). 
Flat  indeed.  Probably  derived  from 
the  first  implement  of  this  kind  which 
was  level  compared  with  the  crocks 
of  Elizabethan  days. 

'  Egad — I'm  struck  as  flat  as  a  frying- 
pan  '. — Farquhar,  The  Inconstant. 

Flat  chicken  (Lower  Class).  Stewed 
tripe.  All  common  foods  have  fine 
satirical  names. 

Flat-foot  (Navy}.  A  young  sailor 
less  than  twenty-one.  (See  Shellback). 

Flatty  (Thieves').  A  greenhorn. 
An  endearing  diminutive  of  flat,  who 
would  be  more  despised  than  the  less 
contemned  flatty. 

Flaxation  (New  Eng.).  One  of 
the  more  remarkable  American  hypo- 
critical evasions  of  actual  swearing. 
Equal  to  damnation. 

'  Then,  what  in  flaxation  do  you  want 
of  those  things  ? ' — Newsp.  Gutting. 

Fleet  (Old  Eng.—gone  to  Nantucktt, 
where  it  stays).  To  trifle,  idle.  Heard 
sometimes  in  mid-counties,  e.g., 

'  He  fleets  his  life  away.  Many  young 
gentlemen  flock  to  him  every  day,  and 
fleet  the  time  carelessly  as  they  did  in 
the  golden  age.' — As  You  Like  It. 

Fleshy  part  of  the  thigh  (Peoples'., 
1899).  Evasive  military  hospital 
phraseology  to  describe  a  wound  on 
that  part  of  the  human  frame  which 
'goes  over  the  hedge  last'.  Came 
into  use  upon  the  news  from  S.  Africa 
of  Lord  Methuen  having  been  wounded 
in  this  region. 

Flier  (Sporting,  19  cent.).  A  breeder 
of  carrier  and  other  homing  pigeons. 

'  Fliers',  a  term  given  to  the  individuals 
whose  sportsmanlike  instincts  induce 
them  to  spend  considerable  time  and 
money  on  the  training  of  homing  pigeons. 
— D.  T.y  17th  December  1897. 

Flight  o'  steps  (Coffee  -  house). 
Thick  slices  of  bread  and  butter. 
Royal  order  in  relation  to  steps — at 
least  four  ridge  and  furrows. 

He  asks  for  a  pint  of  mahogany  juice, 
a  flight  of  doorsteps,  and  a  penny 
halligator. — Mankind  (Surrey  Theatre), 

Flimsy  (Press).  Copy  on  very  thin 
tracing  paper.  A  dozen  sheets  of 
flimsy  are  interleaved  with  as  many 

sheets  of  carbonized  or  charcoaled  paper, 
when  by  writing  heavily  in  pencil  on 
the  mass  of  flimsy,  twelve  copies  are 
obtained.  Passed  into  a  verb  — 
'  Flimsy  me  that  par ',  means  '  make 
half  a  dozen  copies  on  tracing  paper '. 

Had  the  questions  to  be  copied  out  ? — 
Yes ;  and  the  answers  to  be  flimsied. — 
Sir  C.  Dilke,  Crawford  Divorce  Suit, 
July  1886. 

Fling  out  or  flung  away  (Peoples'). 
Angry  retreat, 

Wardlaw  whipped  before  him  and 
flung  out  of  the  room.  (Charles  Keade. ) 

Theodore  flung  away  and  was  rushing 
off".  (Miss  Yonge.) 

Flip-flap  (Street  boy,  1898  on). 
Broad  fringe  of  hair  covering  the 
young  male  forehead.  This  fashion, 
revived  from  the  time  of  George  IV., 
began  with  the  quiff  (q.v.),  expanded 
to  the  guiver,  and  widened  to  the 
flip-flap,  a  name  evidently  gained  from 
its  motion  in  the  winds. 

Flop  (Low  Lond.,  1881).  When 
the  lower  classes  of  women  adopted 
the  '  cretin '  or  '  poodle '  style  of 
wearing  the  hair  low  down  over  the 
forehead,  they  gave  it  this  name. 

Flounce  (Theatrical  and  Society, 
1854  on).  The  thick  line  of  black 
paint  put  on  the  edge  of  the  lower 
eyelid  to  enhance  the  effect  of  the  eye 
itself.  When  under  the  second  empire 
painting  the  face  (see  Mind  the  paint), 
became  common,  this  term  came  to  be 
heard  in  society. 

Fluff  in  (Lower  Peoples').  Deceive 
by  smooth  modes. 

Fly  cop  (Anglo-Amer.).  Detective 
(see  Tec).  Cop  is  abbreviation  of 
copper  (q.v.).  Fly  is  quite  an  old 
word  for  adroit. 

Fly  donah  (Street).  Adroit  lady— 
not  perhaps  too  honest. 

Fly  loo  (Student,  1850).  Summer 
game.  The  players  stand  round  a 
table,  each  having  a  lump  of  sugar  or 
touch  of  honey  well  before  him.  The 
owner  of  the  sweets  upon  which  a  fly 
first  settles  takes  the  stakes.  (See 
Kentucky  Loo.) 

Fly  me  (Ancient).  Exclamation 
against  mistrust  or  doubt.  From  flay. 

Fly  member  (Com.  Peo.).  Clever, 
adroit  man  —fly  being  used  to  give  the 
idea  of  speed  in  apprehending,  and 


Fly  Rink 


lighting  on  what  passes.      (See  Hot 
member. ) 

Fly  rink  (Peoples',  1875).  A 
polished  bald  head. 

Flying:  the  kite  (Soc.).  Making 
public— in  the  90's.  Earlier  in  the 
century  it  was  issuing  accommodation 
bills.  Now,  however,  it  has  the  other 
meaning,  as — 

He  would  be  very  sorry  to  do  entirely 
without  the  interview,  and  politicians 
were  said  to  use  it  as  a  means  of  '  flying 
the  kite'.— Anthony  Hope,  April  1898. 

Foal  and  filly  dance  (Soc.). 
Dance  to  which  only  very  young 
people  of  both  sexes  are  invited. 

Fog  in  (Soc.).  To  see  a  place  by 
chance,  or  to  achieve  by  accident. 

Foot  I  foot !  Now  and  again  this 
expression  is  cast  after  the  respectably 
dressed  person  who  wanders  into 
strange  and  doubtful  bye-ways.  Phrase 
obtained  much  attention  by  its  use  by 
Emile  Zola  in  L'Assommoir,  where  it  is 
found  even  in  the  mouth  of  a  priest. 
It  is  difficult  to  say  when  this  term 
passed  into  England.  The  word  is  to 
be  found  as  'foutre'  in  Shakespeare 
(Henry  VI.).  Probably  reintroduced 
into  England  by  the  French  court  of 
Charles  II. 

Foot-and-mouth  disease  (Lanca- 
shire). Swearing  followed  by  kicking. 

Foot-bath  (European. )  Overflow 
from  glass  into  saucer.  Said  in 
England  of  a  full  glass. 

It  is  customary  throughout  Spain  for 
the  waiters  of  cafe's  to  fill  a  glass  with 
wine  or  liquor  so  that  it  overflows  upon 
the  saucer.  This  custom,  in  which  it 
is  desired  to  show  an  appearance  of 
liberality,  is  called  'the  foot-bath'. — 
People,  28th  July  1895. 

Foot  -  rot  (Public  -  house).  Con- 
temptuous name  given  by  the  con- 
temn ers  of  fourpenny  ale.  (See  Brown. ) 

Footless  stocking  without  a  leg. 

(Irish).     Nothing— zero.      (See  What 
the  Connaught  man  shot  at.) 

Fopper  (Parvenus1).  Mistake.  Per- 
version of  '  faux  pas '.  In  its  extreme 
application  an  '  event ',  if  you  accept 
the  word's  Latin  meaning.  Equi- 
valent to  what  the  French  call  brise 
du  soir. 

Forcing  the  hand  (Soc.).  Compel 
admissions.  From  whist,  where  to 

force  the  hand  of  an  adversary  is  to 
play  high  in  order  to  compel  him  to 
play  higher.  Much  used  by  lawyers — 
always  great  whist-players. 

Sir  C.  Warren  agreed  with  the  assessor 
that  it  was  hardly  fair  to  put  a  question 
of  this  character. 

Mr  Wontner  observed  that  it  was 
forcing  his  hand.— Gass  Case,  July  1887. 

Fore  God  (American).  Shape  of 
old  English  oath  —  '  Before  God,  I 
swear. ' 

Foreign  line  (Railway).  Any  line 
which  is  not  that  on  which  the  speaker 
is  employed. 

Foreigneering  coves  (Low  London, 
1860).  Most  graphic  description  of 
dislike  to  others  than  British  that 
has  perhaps  been  invented. 

We  have  no  passion  for  ribbons,  and 
orders,  and  all  the  tinsel  trappings  of 
aliens  or  'foreigneering  coves',  as  they 
are  termed  in  the  simple  language  of 
'  Those  in  the  Know '.—  D.  N.,  1883. 

Foreigner  (Negro).  Elegant  evasive 
title  given  by  negroes  to  describe 
themselves,  in  order  to  avoid  the 
hated  word  black. 

Forest  of  fools  (Literary.  17  cent.). 
The  World. 

Amongst  all  the  wild  men  that  run  up 
and  down  in  this  wide  Forest  of  Fools, 
etc.— Decker's  Gull's  Horn-Book,  1609. 

Forever  -  gentleman  ( Soc. ,  1870). 
A  man  in  whom  good  breeding  is  in- 
grained. (See  Half  Hour  Gentleman.) 

Forrader  (Soc.,  1880  on).  For- 
warder— adopted  from  the  gutter,  one 
night,  in  the  House  of  Commons. 
Used  in  many  jocular  ways. 

Whether  the  Liberal  Forwards  will  get 
any  '  forrarder '  over  the  light  claret 
which  we  have  no  doubt  is  all  that  they 
can  conscientiously  allow  themselves 
remains  to  be  seen.  —  D.  T.,  15th 
December  1898. 

Fortnum  and  Mason  (Soc.,  1850 
on).  Complete,  luxurious  hamper  for 
picnic  or  races.  From  the  perfection 
of  the  eatables  sent  out  by  this  firm  of 
grocers  in  Piccadilly. 

49ers  (  W.  -  American).  Earliest 
Californian  miners — from  the  year  in 
which  the  movement  to  California 

Forum      (Birmingham).      The 
'  Forum '  is  the  Town  Hall,  and  known 



by  that  name  through  all  Warwick- 

Earl  Granville,  who  was  received  with 
most  enthusiastic  cheers,  said :  I  rise  a 
stranger  in  this  famous  Town  Hall — 
(cries  of  '  No ') — known  in  Birmingham, 
I  believe,  by  a  still  more  classical  name. 
— Bright  Celebration  (B'rgham),  June 

Forwards  (Polit.,  1897).  Radicals 
— last  cry  of  the  19th  century  in 
discovering  a  new  name  for  the 
advanced  sections  in  the  House  of 

Sir  Charles  Dilke  leads  a  knot  of 
Radical  'forwards'  on  questions  of 
foreign  affairs,  whose  views  are,  pro- 
bably, at  least  as  distasteful  to  the 
leader  of  the  Opposition  as  the  policy 
of  Lord  Salisbury.—!).  T.,  21st  June 

Foundling  temper  (London).  A 
very  bad  temper — proverbially  said  of 
the  domestic  servants  poured  upon 
London  by  the  metropolitan  Foundling 

The  ladies  who  are  conducting  the 
Metropolitan  Association  for  Befriending 
Young  Servants  are  perpetually  thwarted 
and  discouraged  by  the  singular  in- 
capacity for  self-control  of  the  girls  who 
have  been  bred  in  the  great  pauper 
schools.  Their  chief  characteristic  is  an 
ungovernable  temper.  This  is  popularly 
recognised  as  the  '  Foundling  temper'. — 
D.  N.,  9th  September  1885. 

Foundry  (Peoples'}.  Shop,  but 
chiefly  applied  to  a  pork  butcher's — 
probably  because  of  the  noisy  vibra- 
tion of  the  sausage  machine. 

Fountain  temples  (London,  90's). 
Places  of  convenience,  sunk  below  the 
roadways.  Remarkable  for  lavish 
marble,  mosaic,  and  clear  running 
water.  (See  Cottages.) 

Four  arf  (Costers').  The  coster- 
monger's  favourite  beverage  is  a  pot 
o'  four  arf. 

Four -legged  fortune  (Soc.t  1880 
on).  Winning  horse. 

They  talk  Turf  slang ;  they  back  '  four- 
legged  fortunes ',  and  his  lordship  owns 
a  steed  which  brings  him  to  utter  grief. 
— D.T.,  22nd  April  1898. 

Four  liner  (Soc.).  Very  important. 
From  'whips'  or  messages  to  M.P.'s, 
which  have  from  one  to  four  lines 
drawn  under  them,  according  to 

Four-lined  whips  have  been  sent  out 

on  both  sides  of  the  House  of  Commons 
urging  members  to  be  in  their  places 
this  evening.—  D.  N.,  March  1890. 

Four  thick  (Public-house).  Four- 
pence  per  quart  beer — the  commonest 
there  is  (in  London),  and  generally 
the  muddiest. 

Fourpenny  cannon  (London 
Slums).  Beef-steak  pudding — price,  a 
groat.  Named  possibly  from  its  shape, 
that  of  a  cannon-ball  (cut  down  to 
cannon),  but  possibly  referring  to  the 
cast-iron  character  not  only  of  the  beef, 
but  its  integument. 

Fourpenny  pit  (Rhyming).  Four- 
penny  bit— now  antiquarian  phrase — 
since  this  silver  coin  has  been 
absolutely  withdrawn  in  favour  of  the 
threepenny  bit. 

Foxes  (American).  People  of 
Maine— probably  owing  to  the  foxes 
which  prevail  there. 

Frame  (Artists',  1890).     Picture. 

Franc -fileur  (French,  1870).  A 
cur,  a  freebolter — in  contradistinction 
from  franc-tireur,  the  volunteer  light 
infantry  of  the  defence.  Used  now 
and  again  in  England  in  society  for 
a  man  who  gets  away  quietly  and 
won't  dance. 

Freak  (Theatrical,  1885).  Actors 
who  lose  professional  cast  by  aiding  in 
eccentric  shows.  From  New  York. 

Actors  who  play  in  dime  museums  are 
now  called  'freaks'.—  Mef.,  18th  April 

Freakeries  (London,  1898). 
Barnum's  freak  and  acrobat  shows  at 

Free  (Peoples'  and  School).  To 
make  free.  Process  never  of  a  very 
elegant  kind  —  especially  amongst 
school  -  boys.  Expectoration  enters 
into  the  process  as  a  rule.  (See 

Free  hand  (Political,  about  1880). 
Plenary  powers,  carte  blanche. 

General  Gordon  has  been  given,  if  we 
must  use  a  detestable  piece  of  slang  a 
'free  hand'.  In  plainer  and  better 
English  he  has  been  allowed  to  do  as 
he  pleased.— D.  N.,  5th  May  1884. 

French  (S.  of  N.  Amer.  Soc.). 
Term  used  in  Maryland  and  Virginia 
for  any  fashion  that  is  disliked. 
Probably  from  18th  century  when  the 
people  of  these  states  very  much 



Fruit  of  a  Gibbet 

disliked    the    French    population    of 

Frenchman  (Soc.,  19  cent.).  Bottle 
of  brandy  —  from  this  spirit  being 

Frenchy  (Street,  19  cent.,  to  1854). 
A  term  of  contempt  addressed  to  any 
man  with  a  foreign  air  in  the  streets. 

Fresh -whites  (Peoples',  19  cent.). 

Freshers  and  toshers  (Oxford, 
1896).  Freshers  despised  as  freshmen, 
and  toshers  beiog  men  who  have  no 
sympathy  with  the  Church.  Com- 
bined term  of  contempt. 

Fretted  (American).  Vexed  to  do 
a  thing. 

Friars  (L.  G.  and  D.  Railway 
passengers',  1860).  Hurried  short  for 

Friction  (Polit.,  1885).  New 
satirical  term  for  political  or  inter- 
national quarrel. 

The  letter  from  Lord  Granville  which 
Lord  Edmund  Fitzmaurice  read  in  the 
House  of  Commons  contained  an  expres- 
sion of  Lord  Granville's  hope  that  the 
'  friction '  with  Germany  may  now  be 
considered  a  thing  of  the  past. — D.  N., 
10th  March  1885. 

Fried  carpets  (London  Theatrical, 
1878-82).  Given  to  the  exceedingly 
short  ballet  skirt,  then  especially  seen 
at  the  old  '  Gaiety'. 

Friendly  pannikin  (Australian 
gold  -  fields).  An  amicable  drink 
together  out  of  the  small  tin  pot — 
one  which  serves  the  outlying  Aus- 
tralian for  most  purposes. 

Fright  hair  (Theatrical).  A  wig 
or  portion  of  a  wig  which  by  a  string 
can  be  made  to  stand  on  end  and 
express  fright. 

Frisk  at  the  tables  (London).  A 
moderate  touch  at  gaming. 

My  object  is  fulfilled  if  I  have  made  it 
clear  that  '  a  frisk  at  the  tables '  is  now 
rendered  easy  to  Londoners,  and  that 
those  wishing  to  enjoy  one  have  but  to 
attend  the  first  well-managed  sporting 
meeting,  to  receive  encouragement  and 
respectful  protection  at  the  hands  of  the 
police.— G.  A.  Sala. 

Frisky  (Com.  London,  1880).  Bad- 
tempered,  and  a  euphemism  for  the 

Frivoller  (Soc.,  1879  on).     Person 


with  no  serious  aim  in  life.  Sub- 
stantive derived  from  Lord  Beacons- 
field's  celebrated  phrase  'hair-brained 
frivolity '. 

'Junius'  contains  plenty  of  fine 
stirring  lines,  even  if  they  awake  no 
more  than  an  occasional  echo  in  the 
bosoms  of  the  cynical  'frivollers'  who 
exclusively  occupy  '  the  best  parts '  at  all 
our  theatres.—  Kef.,  1st  March  1885. 

Frochard  (Theatrical,  about  1870). 
Savage  old  woman  part — from  the 
demon-hag  in  Les  Deux  Orphelines. 

Augustin  Daly's  Under  the  Gaslight 
was  more  or  less  a  '  bobtail '  piece,  and 
thoroughly  American  in  tone.  We  had 
a  New  York  blood ;  a  low-comedy 
character  called  Bermudas  ;  a  '  side-walk 
merchant  prince,  with  a  banjo  swarry ' ; 
a  Wall  Street  dealer ;  a  judge  of  the 
Tombs  Police  Court ;  and  a  vile 
Frochard  sort  of  person  called  Old 
Judas.— D.  T.,  9th  June  1899. 

Froncey  (Low.  Land.,  19  cent.). 
Fran9ais — protest  in  the  interests  of 
things  English  and  of  England. 

Front  (Soc.,  1888).  Audacity-— 
from  the  forehead,  pushing  forward. 
Equals  affront. 

There  is  another  rendering  of  the  word 
'front'  in  use  among  some  clever  folk, 
but  I  wouldn't  for  the  world  suggest  that 
the  promoters  have  any  of  that — to  say 
nothing  of  420  ft.  of  it.—  Ref.,  9th  March 

Front  name  (Universal  Street,  19 
cent.).  Christian  name,  and  always 
considered  as  the  cognomen. 

Front  piece  (Theatrical,  1880). 
Dramatic  trifle  which  precedes  the 
piece  de  resistance. 

The  new  front  piece,  Written  in  Sand, 
turned  out  to  be  a  pretty  little  idyllic 
affair.— Ref.,  31st  August  1884. 

Frosy  (Devonshire).  A  delicacy  in 
food  eaten  quietly  by  not  more  than 
two,  after  the  children  are  in  bed — the 
couple  generally  man  and  wife. 

Froze  out  (Amer.-Eng.,  1880-96). 
Conquered,  made  the  other  a 

Fruit  of  a  gibbet  (Peoples',  18  cent.). 
Hanged  felon.  The  gibbet,  as  distinct 
from  the  gallows,  was  the  frame  upon 
which  the  hanged  man  was  swung  in 

I  found  thee  a  complete  emblem  of 
poverty,  resembling  the  fruit  of  a  gibbet 
seven  years  exposed  to  wind  and  weather 
— Gay's  Beggars'  Opera. 



Frump  (Soc.t  1871  on).  High  cut 
bodice.  When  the  second  French 
Empire  fell  (1870),  the  low-cut  bodice, 
which  the  Court  of  the  Tuileries  had 
maintained  for  eighteen  years,  was 
swept  away.  London  society  led  with 
the  high,  and  afterwards  the  square 
cut  bodice,  which  still  very  generally 
prevails.  Young  men  in  society  at 
once  dubbed  the  high  bodice 
patroness  a  '  frump ' — a  badly  dressed 

Full  as  a  goat  (Tavern,  18  cent.). 
Drunk.  This  phrase  is  evidently  '  Full 
as  a  goitre',  the  word  often  used  for 
the  huge  throat  wen  which,  common 
in  the  last  century,  is  now  rarely  seen. 
The  word  having  no  distinct  modern 
meaning,  has  been  naturally  changed 
to  goat.  The  idea  of  fulness  is  com- 
plete in  contemplating  a  huge  goitre, 
which  always  looks  upon  the  point  of 

.  .  .  New  Arrival — 'I  want  a  bed.' 
Clerk  :  '  Can't  have  one,  sir  ;  they're  all 
full.'  N.  A. :  'Then  I'll  sleep  with  the 
landlord.'  Clerk:  'Can't  do  it,  sir. 
He's  full,  too ;  fuller  than  a  goat,  and 
has  been  for  three  days.'  —  N.  Y. 
Mercury,  1888. 

Function  (Soc.,  1880  on).  First 
used  for  grave  musical  performances  ; 
but  the  aesthetes  began  to  apply  the 
word  to  all  kinds  of  meetings — even 
afternoon  teas. 

The  drenching  showers  of  Thursday 
night  in  no  way  damped  the  ardour  of 
Haymarket  reopeners.  The  ceremony 
was,  in  its  way,  almost  a  function. — Jief., 
18th  September  1887. 

Fury  (Navy).  Crew's  name  for  the 

Fuss  (Anglo-American,  19  cent.). 
Dispute,  row,  wrangle,  without  any 
serious  consequences. 

Fuss  and  feathers  (Amer.-Eng., 
1880).  Bosh,  pretence,  froth.  Prob- 
ably from  18th  century  English  ; 
and  referring  to  cock-fighting  where 
the  birds  only  pulled  feather  and 

Well,  as  an  American  critic  says  of  the 
notions  of  the  solar  mythologists,  this 
was  'all  fuss  and  feathers'. — D.  2?., 
10th  February  1898. 

Fuz-chats  (Beggars').  The  people 
who  camp  out  on  commons  amongst 
the  '  furze '.  Generally  show-people, 
and  gipsy  cheap-jacks,  also  gipsies 

G.  O.  M.  (Political  Popular,  1882). 
Grand  Old  Man.  In  this  year  Mr  W. 
E.  Gladstone,  when  Premier,  was  de- 
scribed in  this  way.  The  satirical 
journals  took  up  the  phrase,  and 
reduced  it  to  initials. 

I  knocked  the  G.  0.  M.  down,  North- 
cote  sat  on  his  head,  and  he  gave  in. — 
Ref.,  7th  December  1884. 

G.  T.  T.  (New  York).  Gone  to 
Texas.  Confession  of  flight  put  on 
office  door. 

Gads  O](Hist.).  Evaded  swearing. 
Equals  God  s  oath — probably  refers  to 
the  promises  made  to  the  patriarchs. 

Gadsbud  (Queen  Anne).  God's 
blood,  or  God's  bud,  meaning  the 
Infant  Saviour.  Another  shape  is 
Od's  Bud  (q.v.),  '  Gadsbud  !  I  am  pro- 
voked into  a  fermentation.' — Congreve, 
The  Double  Dealer. 

Gaelically  utter  (Soc. ).  The  Scotch 
accent  when  trying  to  produce  English. 

'  West  of  England  ! '  cried  a  supporter 
of  the  majority,  in  an  accent  too  Gaeli- 
cally utter  for  London  ink  to  reproduce. 
'  I  don't  believe  there  are  any  solicitors 
in  the  West  of  England.  Only  a  set  of 
clerks.'— S.  T.,  1st  February  1883. 

Gaiety  girls  (Stage,  1890  on). 
Dashing  singing  and  dancing  come- 
dians in  variety  pieces  —  from  their 
first  gaining  attention  at  the  Gaiety 

One  of  the  most  interesting  features  of 
the  Nellie  Farren  benefit  is  the  promised 
re-appearance  of  Miss  Marion  Hood,  one 
of  the  brightest  and  most  graceful  of 
'  Gaiety '  girls. — People,  27th  February 

Gaiety  step  (Theat.,  1888-92).  A 
quick,  high  dancing  pas,  made  popular 
at  the  Gaiety  Theatre.  Term  spread 
to  America. 

Galbe  (Thieves').  Profile  of  a  vio- 
lent character,  and  even  applied  to  any 
eccentricity  of  shape  above  the  knees. 
This  is  from  the  French,  and  doubt- 
lessly came  into  fashion  at  the  Court 
of  Charles  II.  The  word  is  one  of  the 
proper-name  series,  and  comes  from 
the  Emperor  Galba,  who  lived  long  in 
Gaul,  where  his  pronounced  profile  and 



General  Backacher 

terrific  nose  begot  the  word.  Galbe  is 
used  daily  all  over  France,  but  espe- 
cially in  Paris. — "  Quel  Galbe." 

Gallersgood  (Thieves',  18  cent.). 
Corruption  of  gallows'  good.  So  bad 
that  it  is  worthy  of  the  gallows. 

Gally-pot  baronet  (Soc.t  19  cent.). 
Ennobled  physician — outcome  of  the 
scorn  of  birth  for  even  the  scientific 

Gal-sneaker  ( Co  mmonLond.,  1870). 
A  man  devoted  to  seduction. 

Gambetter  (International,  1879). 
To  humbug — 'Don't  you  try  to  Gam 
Better  me!'  From  Gambetta,  of 
Italian  and  Jewish  origin,  who  was 
very  popular  in  France  from  1870  to 
about  1876,  when  politicians  began  to 
suspect  his  sincerity.  In  1879  his 
popularity  was  rapidly  waning.  In 
this  year  the  verb  in  question  was 
invented.  It  is  still  used  in  French 
politics  when  accusing  an  opponent  of 

Gamblous  (Soc.,  1885).  Gambling 
—invented  by  Mr  J.  Chamberlain. 
(29th  April  1885.  Speech  at  dinner  of 
the  Eighty  Club.) 

I  suppose  Lord  Salisbury  thinks  that 
if  this  country  only  blustered  enough  we 
might  attain  all  that  we  desired  from  the 
fears  of  foreign  Powers.  There  is  some- 
thing to  be  said  for  the  game  of  brag, 
but  in  this  case  the  stakes  are  so  high, 
the  risk  so  great,  that  I  do  not  believe 
that  any  sensible  men  will  commit  their 
fortunes  to  a  party  or  a  statesman  who 
would  run  such  tremendous  hazards  in 
such  a  gamblous  spirit. 

Gander  (London,  1815-40).  Fop. 
It  is  a  perversion  of  Gandin,  the 
Parisian  description  of  a  fop  from  the 
Restoration  to  the  '40's. 

Ganymede  ( University).  Freshman , 
or  man  in  his  second  or  even  third 
year,  of  an  effeminate  tendency. 

Gaperies,  The  (London,  1902). 
The  very  last  outcome  of  entertain- 
ments ending  in  '  ies '  (see  Colindiries, 
etc. )  It  is  simply  a  rendering  of  '  Gay 
Paris '. 

Garbage  (Naval).  Clothes,  etc. — 
probably  from  the  appearance  of  a  box 
of  clothes  waiting  the  wash. 

Garbed  (American ;  passing  to 
Eng.).  Full  -  dressed.  Would  appear 
to  be  an  intensification  of  the  ordinary 
use  of  the  word  dressed. 

Garret  (Hatters',  19  cent.).  A  con- 
sultation of  the  members  of  a  shop 
in  relation  to  some  trade  or  social 
difficulty  of  the  moment. 

Garret  (Street,  19  cent.).  Mouth- 
probably  suggested  by  the  mouth 
being  high  up  in  relation  to  all  the 

Gas-pipes  (Street).  Name  given  to 
trousers  when  tight.  In  France  when 
fashion  causes  the  hem  of  the  trouser 
to  widen  out,  this  style  is  called  pied 
d'elephant,  to  which  it  has  a  fair 

Gaul  darned  (American).  Modern 
opposition  to  too  plain  bad  languagb — 
'  God  damned  '. 

Gawblimy  (Street,  1870).  Cease- 
less apostrophe  by  the  lower  orders  to 
heaven,  in  reference  to  some  declara- 
tion. This  is  'Gaw  Bli  Me'.  Gaw 
from  the  street  shape  of  the  word 
«  God ' — this  shape  being  Gawd,  '  bli ' 
an  ellipsis,  and  '  me '. 

Gawd  forgive  him  the  prayers  he 
said  (Peoples').  Evasion  of  saying  the 
sinner  swore  consummately. 

Gaze  at  the  melody  (American). 
Look  a  thing  in  the  face.  Another 
form  of  '  Face  the  music '. 

Gee  -  gees  (Infantry}.  Cavalry. 
This  term,  from  the  nursery,  for  a 
horse  is  directed  at  the  cavalry  by 
the  infants.  (See  Coldcreams,  Porridge 
pots,  Grinning  dears,  Muck. ) 

Gee-ru  (American,  1880).  Exten- 
sion of  amazement.  The  '  Ge '  is  for 
Jerusalem,  a  word  once  much  used ; 
accent  on  first  syllable  and  on  second. 
Often  used,  '  Je — you  don't  say  so ! ' 

General  (Com.  Life).  Chandler's 
shop  —  where  everything  may  be 

General  (Mid.  -  class,  1880  on). 
Maid  of  all  work. 

That  the  race  of  generals  threatens  to 
become  extinct  is  a  proposition  which  is 
not  really  so  startling  as  it  sounds  at 
first.—  D.  T.,  18th  January  1898. 

General  (Middle  -  class,  19  cent.} 
Shilling.  '  Can  you  generalise  ? '  A 
delicate  mode  of  saying  '  Can  you  loan 
me  a  shilling  ? ' 

General  Backacher  (Military, 
1899).  General  Gatacher  —  modula- 
tion of  his  name  to  designate  this 
soldier's  love  of  hard-working  his 
men.  (See  Bobs.) 



Get  up  Early 

Genitrave  (Peoples',  Hist.) 
Farthing  —  or  smallest  coin.  Was 
in  use  before  maravedi,  which  pro- 
bably came  to  England  with  Philip 
of  Spain. 

Gentleman  (Liverpool).  There  are 
no  men  in  Liverpool ;  all  are  gentlemen. 

Gentleman  in  blue  (London,  1840). 
One  of  the  satirical  names  for  police- 

Gentleman  super  (Theatrical  — 
about  1884).  A  theatre-super  of  some 
position  or  standing  —  the  ordinary 
super  being  a  person  of  no  standing 
whatever  beyond  earning  about  a 
shilling  or  two  per  evening.  In  1884 
Mr  Wilson  Barrett  (Princess's  Theatre) 
invented  the  gentleman  super  with  a 
view  to  creating  a  school  of  actors, 
who  began  on  the  lowest  rung  of  the 
ladder.  Their  price  was  about  twelve 
to  fifteen  shillings  per  week. 

Gentleman  who  pays  the  rent, 
The  (Irish  peasantry,  19  cent.).  Pig 
— Milesian  variety.  Origin  obvious. 

The  Irish  pig,  the  gentleman  who  pays 
the  Irish  rent,  if  not  exactly  a  willing 
immigrant  into  this  country,  has  always 
proved  a  quiet  one  after  his  arrival.  He 
has  generally  been  cured  before  leaving 
home.— D.  T.,  17th  December  1897. 

Gentlemen  of  the  long  robe 
(Historical).  Term  applied  by  warriors 
who  wore  short  tunics,  satirically  to 
designate  mere  lawyers,  who  waged 
wars  with  but  words. 

George  (Military,  1880-96).  The 
Commander-in- Chief,  George,  Duke  of 
Cambridge.  Good  evidence  of  the 
duke's  popularity,  which  never  waned 
to  the  moment  he  resigned  the 

Georgium  Sidus  (Soc.).  The 
Netherlands  —  figuratively  speaking. 
The  Surrey  side  of  the  Styx. 

Geranium  (Street,  1882).    Red  nose. 

German  gospel  (Peoples',  November 
1897).  Bounce,  vain  boasting,  mega- 
lomania. From  a  phrase  addressed 
in  this  month  by  Prince  Henry  of 
Prussia  to  his  brother  of  Germany  at 
a  dinner :  '  The  gospel  that  emanates 
from  your  Majesty's  sacred  person,  etc.' 

Get  away  closer  (Coster,  Hist.). 
Invitation  to  yet  more  pronounced 

Get  curly  (Tailors').     Troublesome. 

Get  fits  (Peoples').  Vce  victis— 
suffer  rage  from  being  conquered ; 
impatient  under  defeat.  Generally 
'  git  fits '. 

Get  in  (Low  London,  19  cent.). 
Victoriously  strike. 

And  then  you  goes  and  gets  in  both 
fists  —  one,  two,  three  —  afore  I  knew 
where  I  was.  Then  o'  course  I  ups  and 
gives  you  a  one-er,  and  off  I  goes. — 
D.  T.,  18th  October  1897. 

Get  inside  and  pull  the  blinds 
down  (Low  London,  19  cent.).  Gross 
verbal  attack  delivered  on  the  high- 
way at  a  poor  rider. 

Get  it  down  the  neck  (Lower 
Peoples').  To  swallow. 

Get  left  (Anglo- Amer.).  Abbre- 
viation of  '  in  the  lurch '. 

Get  outside  (Street).     Swallow. 

Get  religion  (Peoples').  Become 

Get  the  drop  (Amer.-Eng.).  Out- 
come of  the  use  of  the  revolver  in 
U.S.A.  The  muzzle  of  the  revolver  is 
dropped  down  to  the  aim  from  a  higher 
level — hence  the  term,  which  means  to 
obtain  victory. 

Get  the  g.  b.  (Amer.).  Dismissal 
— g.  b.  being  '  go  by '. 

'  Won't  he  feel  cheap  when  he  gets  the 
g.  b.  ?' 

Get  the  heels  on  it  (Amer.-Eng.). 
Victory,  success — from  the  American 
habit  (rapidly  passing  away)  of  resting 
the  heels,  when  their  proprietor  is 
seated,  on  a  level  with  his  head,  if  not 
above  it. 

Get  the  shillings  ready  (Street, 
1897).  Be  prepared  to  ladle  out 
money.  From  the  rush  of  charity 
which  characterised  the  sixtieth  year  of 
Queen  Victoria's  reign,  and  especially 
referring  to  the  Daily  Telegraph  shill- 
ings charity  lists  towards  the  fund  for 
the  payment  of  the  debts  of  the  London 

Get  the  shoot  (Peoples').  Dismissal 
— probably  from  the  mill  shoot  turning 
out  the  flour. 

Get  the  spike  (Low  London).  Lose 
one's  temper. 

'0'  course  Chris  git's  the  spike!' — 
People,  5th  January  1895. 

Get  to  onest  (Amer.).     Retire  im- 
Get  up  early  (Street).     Be  clever. 


Get  up  Steam 

Ginger  Blue 

Get  up  steam  (Peoples',  1840  on). 
Be  energetic.  Outcome  of  the  initia- 
tion of  the  railway  system.  Even 
George  Eliot,  who  hated  anything 
approaching  slang,  used  this  phrase  so 
early  as  1846. 

'  I  do  not  know  whether  I  can  get  up 
any  steam  again  on  the  subject  of  Quinet 
—but  I  will  try.'— George  Eliot's  Life, 
vol.  i.,  p.  150. 

Get  your  eye  in  a  sling  (Peoples'}. 
Warning  that  you  may  receive  a 
sudden  and  early  black  eye,  calling 
for  a  bandage— the  sling  in  question. 

Getting  a  big  boy  now  (London). 
Of  age.  The  line  was  the  leading 
phrase  of  the  refrain  of  a  song  made 
popular  by  Herbert  Campbell.  It  is 
applied  satirically  to  strong  lusty 
young  fellows  about  whose  manhood 
there  can  be  little  or  no  question. 

Getting  all  over  a  man  (L.  Life, 
19  cent.).  Handling  and  examining 
him — not  necessarily  for  theft,  but  in 
all  probability  feloniously. 

The  only  reason  witness  could  give  for 
the  attack  was  that  a  few  days  previously 
he  prevented  Eegan  '  getting  all  over  a 
strange  man '  whom  he  had  brought  into 
the  lodging-house.—  D.  T.,  8th  October 

Getting  before  oneself  (Peoples'). 
Personal  emphasis  of  any  kind  —  of 
vanity,  boastfulness,  threat,  anger. 

Getting  behind  yourself  (Peoples', 
19  cent.).  Lapse  of  memory  in  refer- 
ence to  events. 

Getting  it  down  fine  (American, 
1880).  Successful  by  adroitness. 

Getting  it  down  fine  on  burglars.  It 
is  getting  so  that  even  burglars  are 
seriously  interfered  with  in  the  practice 
of  their  professions.  A  recent  invention, 
etc.—  Albany  Argus,  1883. 

Getting  ox-tail  soup  (1867-83). 
Refers  to  the  maiming  of  cattle, 
exercised  by  Fenians  and  other  dis- 
affected Irish,  against  the  property  of 
cattle-owners  who  displeased  them. 

In  Ireland  there  have  been  no  experi- 
ments at  all,  for  the  cutting  off  the  tails 
of  living  cattle — 'getting  ox-tail  soup', 
as  some  Irish  facetiously  styled  this 
practice — is  not  a  scientific  experiment. 
D.  N.,  7th  June  1883. 

Good  example  of  historical  phrase. 

Giants  (Restaurant).  Huge 

I  was  startled  by  hearing  the  player 

call  the  waiter  and  order,  as  he  pointed 
to  the  carte,  ' Two  Giants'.  I  arrived  at 
a  solution  of  the  mystery  when  presently 
I  saw  the  gourmands  devouring  '  giant ' 
asparagus.—  Ref.,  1882. 

Gibby  (Navy).     Spoon. 

Giddy  young  whelp  (London, 
1896).  Youth  about  town.  Rather 
contemptuous.  Sometimes  giddy 
young  whelk  —  pronounced  Wilk. 
Giddy  kipper  was  the  first  develop- 
ment—from probably  giddy  skipper. 

Gigglemug  (Street}.  An  habitually 
smiling  face. 

Gigmanity  (Soc.).  People  who 
keep  gigs  —  therefore  respectable. 
Took  its  rise  from  the  trial  of  one 
Thurtell  for  the  murder  of  a  Mr 
Weare,  as  to  whom  it  was  asked  by 
counsel  of  a  witness  : — '  Was  Weare 
a  respectable  man  ? '  the  answer  being 
'  Yes — he  kept  a  gig '. 

Gilt  on  the  gingerbread  (Peoples' 
— almost  obsolete).  The  past  -  away 
annual  rural  fairs  were  made  ghastly 
gay  with  flat  gingerbread  cakes, 
covered  with  Dutch  metal,  which 
tried  to  look  like  gilt. 

Gin  and  fog  (Theatrical).  Peculiar 
hoarseness,  generally  believed  to  be 
caused  by  the  abuse  of  alcohol. 

Dr  Lennox  Brown  has  been  delivering 
an  interesting  lecture  on  the  effects  of 
alcohol  on  the  voice.  There  is  a  broken- 
down  voice  known  in  the  profession  as 
'the  gin  and  fog'. — G.  R.  Sims,  Ref., 
llth  January  1886. 

Gin  bottle  (Street).  Dirty,  abandoned, 
flabby,  debased  woman,  generally  over 
thirty,  the  victim  of  alcoholic  abuse, 
within  an  ace  of  inevitable  death. 

Gin  crawl  (London,  Fleet  St.  and 
Strand).  Beaten  street  tracks  haunted 
by  drunken  or  broken  down  literary 
men,  journalists,  reporters,  and  inferior 
actors  out  of  employ. 

Phil  Benjamin  was  taking  his  daily 
constitutional,  which  consisted  in  what 
is  called  '  a  gin  crawl ' — in  this  instance 
between  Drury  Lane  and  Covent  Garden. 
—Bird  o'  Freedom,  7th  March  1883. 

Gin  -  sling  (Public-house,  19  cent.). 
Practically  cold  gin-punch.  Generally 
supposed  to  come  from  U.S.A.,  and 
named  thus  from  slinging  the  mixture 
from  glass  to  glass. 

Ginger  blue  (Amer.-Eng.,  1855). 
Exclamation  protesting  againstcaddish  - 
ness.  Ginger  was  applied  on  the 


Girl  of  the  Period 

Go  In 

plantations  of  S.  U.S.A.  to  over  -eager 
negroes.  Blue  was  added  as  a  satirical 
reference  to  blue  blood. 

Girl  of  the  period  (Soc.,  1880  on). 
Term  invented  by  Mrs  Lynn  Linton 
in  a  series  of  articles  in  The  Saturday 
Review,  attacking  the  self-emancipa- 
tion of  the  young  lady  of  this 

After  Naseby,  by  Mr  Briton  Riviere. 
The  reader,  even  if  he  has  not  visited 
the  Academy,  can  imagine  for  himself 
the  young  lady  of  the  period,  bowed 
down  with  grief,  and  holding  the  fatal 
letter,  below  a  tall  window  of  the 
Royalist  hall.—  D.  N.,  Academy  Grit. 

Git  a  bit  (L.  London).  May  refer 
to  woman,  but  generally  means  obtain- 
ing money. 

On  the  day  this  'ere  job  came  off  Chris 
comes  around  to  me  and  says  :  '  I  'aint 
going  to  work  to-day  ;  you  had  better 
come  out  and  see  if  we  can't  get  a  bit.  — 
People,  6th  January  1895. 

Git  the  ambulance  (Street,  1897). 
Declaration  of  incapacity,  generally  of 
a  drunken  character,  cast  at  the 
sufferer.  Took  the  place  of  'git  the 
stretcher'  —  which  was  (and  is)  main- 
tained by  the  police.  Took  its  rise 
from  the  introduction  amongst  civilians 
of  ambulance  service. 

Git  the  sads  (Peoples').  Vulgar 
synonym  for  'to  have  the  vapours'. 
(See  Smokes). 

Give  a  lift  (Amer.-Eng.).  A  sharp 
quick  kick. 

Give  it  hot  (L.  Life).  Severe 

Remember,  remember, 
Next  month  of  November, 

The  boycotting,  treason,  and  plot  — 
For  condoning  this  treason 
(To  win  votes  the  reason) 

We'll  give  it  Lord  Salisbury  hot  ! 

—Ref.,  18th  October  1885. 

Give  the  crock  (Peoples').  Yield- 
ing victory  —  the  crock  must  have  been 

I  ha 

ve  been  making  a  long  calculation, 
and  I  find  that  this  sum  will  only  just 
cover  ex.'s,  so  I  am  simply  giving  you 
the  crock.  —  Our  Boys,  No.  2,  December 

Give  away  the  racket  (American). 
Unintentionally  to  reveal. 

Give  him  rope  enough  (Old 
English).  This  phrase  is  abbreviated 
from  the  addition,  '  and  he'll  hang 

Give  way  to  booze  (Street).  Mode 
of  describing  habits  of  drinking. 

Give  it  a  drink  ( Theatre  and  Music- 
hall,  1897).  Fin  de  sttcle  shape  of 
condemnation  conferred  upon  a  bad 
piece,  or  some  poor  turn  at  the  music 

Give  out  (American).  End — finish ; 
from  a  mine  giving  out  as  to  ore. 

Give  way  (Ladies',  19  cent.). 
Weep,  break  down,  resolve  in  tears. 

Unhappily  the  infection  appeared  to 
extend  its  influence  even  to  Mr  Barry- 
more,  who,  when  Mr  Forbes-Robertson 
was  preparing  to  bring  the  scene  to  a 
close  by  'taking  the  measure  of  an 
unmade  grave ',  had  begun  to  exhibit  in 
his  turn  an  alarming  tendency  to  '  give 
way',  as  the  ladies  say. — D.  N.,  llth 
November  1882. 

Give  the  shake  (American). 
Abbreviation  of  shaking  hands  upon 

Give  us  a  rest  (American,  1882). 
A  figurative  way  of  asking  a  long 
talker  to  curtail  his  sermon. 

Give  him  a  rolling  for  his  all 
over  (Street).  Corruption  of  give  him 
a  Roland  for  his  Oliver. 

Giving  one.  The  one  here 
mentioned  may  be  a  kiss  or  a  blow. 

Glim  (Thieves').     Candle. 

Glory-oh  (Navy).  Name  given  by 
the  crew  to  the  Glory. 

Glory  hole  (Street).  One  of  the 
names  found  for  the  places  of  meeting 
of  the  Salvationists  —  in  their  early 

The  '  Glory  Hole '  Disturbances  at 
Maidstone:— The  'Glory  Hole'  disturb- 
ances were  continued  last  night  at 
Maidstone.—  D.  N.,  24th  October  1887. 

Glow  (Com.  Class).     Blush. 

Go  and  eat  coke  (Back  Street). 
Direction  implying  contempt. 

Go  around  (American).  Drift ;  go 
with  current  in  life ;  live  thought- 

Go-away  (Soc.,  1886).  The  dress 
into  which  a  bride  passes  before  she 
departs  with  her  husband. 

Go  close  (Sporting  Anglo- American). 
To  the  winning  post.  Abbreviation. 

Go  down  one  (Com.  London).  To 
be  vanquished. 

Go  in  (Peoples').  Act  with  absolute 
vigour.  '  Go  in  and  win '  is  the  best 


Go  Off 


known  of  the  applications  of  this 

The  person  who  jumped  on  the  com- 
munion table  at  St  Paul's  Cathedral 
the  other  day,  pulling  down  the  crucifix, 
knocking  over  the  flowers  and  other 
adornments,  may  be  said  to  have  had 
a  very  inexpensive  'go  in'.  He  had 
been  fined  £5.—  Entr'acte,  April  1883. 

Go  off  (Theatrical}.  Go  off— the 

Go  off  (Soc. ).     Not  to  take  place. 

Mr  Matthews:  'There  is  something 
cut  out  of  the  diary  ? '  '  That  was  an 
engagement  that  went  off.'  '  Whenever 
an  engagement  goes  off  you  cut  it  out  ? ' 
'Yes.'  'What  do  you  mean  by  an 
engagement  going  off  ? '  '  When  a 
person  says  he  will  call  and  does  not,  I 
cut  it  out.'— Sir  C.  Dilke,  Crawford 
Divorce  Suit,  July  1886. 

Go  on  the  aeger  (Oxford).  Signs 
the  sick-list. 

If  a  man  is  ill,  or  thinks  he  is — the 
will  often  being  father  to  the  thought — 
he  'goes  on  the  seger' — that  is  to  say, 
he  puts  his  name  down  on  the  sick-list 
and  obtains  the  luxury  of  a  hot  dinner 
in  his  rooms.—/).  T.,  14th  August  1899. 

Go  on  tick  (Hist.),  Credit — short 
for  ticket.  Fallen  very  low  in  the 

This  phrase  is  derived  from  the  French 
word  'Etiquet,'  a  little  note,  breviate  or 
best — i.e.,  a  ticket  or  note  being  made 
or  taken  instead  of  payment ;  con- 
sequently, to  go  on  trust  or  credit. 
"  We'll  play  on  tick,  and  lose  the  Indies  ; 
I'll  discharge  it  all  to-morrow. " — Dryden, 
An  Evening's  Love. 

Go  on  with  the  funeral  (American). 
Continue  the  ceremony. 

Go  out  foreign  (Thieves').  To 
emigrate  under  shady  circumstances. 

Go  one  better  (American). 
Superiority — from  a  term  at  'poker', 
or  'brag'. 

The  merry  Duchess  can  see  the  late 
Mrs  Lydia  Pinkham,  and  go  her  one 
better.— jy.  York  Puck,  September  1883. 

Go  solid  (American- Eng.,  1884). 

The  Irish  Nationalist  vote,  whatever 
it  may  amount  to,  will,  in  American 
phraseology,  'go  solid',  against  the 
Liberal  party.—  D.  N.,  10th  Sept.  1885. 

Go  to  Hanover  (Jacobite,  18  cent.). 
Paraphrase  of  '  Go  to  Hell  '—Hanover 
being  quite  on  a  par  with  the  hotter 
place  in  the  opinion  of  the  Jacobites. 

Go  to  bed  (Printers',  1860-80). 
Phrase  used  by  printers  in  reference  to 
printing  a  newspaper  on  the  bed  of  the 

Go  to  Hell  or  Connaught  (Hist.). 
Be  off.  From  the  time  of  Cromwell, 
but  still  heard,  especially  in  Protestant 
Ireland.  Means  utter  repudiation  of 
the  person  addressed.  The  Parliament 
(1653-54)  passed  a  law,  driving  away 
all  the  people  of  Ireland  who  owned 
any  land,  out  of  Ulster,  Munster,  and 

Go  to  sleep  (American- English). 
Fail,  expire,  come  to  an  end,  now 
generally  accepted  ;  but  in  the  fiist 
place  used  as  to  wandering  theatrical 
and  other  amusements  companies  about 
the  U.S. A. 

Go  up  (Oxford  and  Cambridge).  To 
go,  academically,  to  one  'Varsity  or  the 

Wiclif  went  up  to  Oxford  between 
1335  and  1340.  Balliol  was  his  college 
naturally,  as  he  was  a  North  Country- 
man.— D.  N.,  30th  December  1884. 

(See  Go  down). 

Go  up  (Theatrical).  The  action  of 
going  up — the  stage — that  is  to  the 
back  boards  of  that  platform.  (See  Go 
off,  Come  on). 

Go  up  one  (Peoples').  Applause. 
Derived  from  the  school  class  —  the 
scholar  going  one  nearer  the  top  as  he 
goes  up  one. 

Go-aheaditiveness  (Amer.)  Suc- 

Go-between,  The  (Holborn,  W.C., 
1897).  St  Alban's  Church,  Holborn. 
This  high  church  used  to  be  called 
'  Machonichie's ' — from  the  name  of  its 
first  spiritual  director,  who,  dying  in  the 
snows  of  Scotland,  was  succeeded  by 
Father  Stan  ton,  when  the  church  came 
to  be  called  '  Stanton's '.  It  acquired 
the  title  here  given  from  a  police-court 

Mr  Horace  Smith :  What  is  your  re- 
ligion ? 

The  Woman :  Well,  my  boy  was  chris- 
tened at  St  Alban's,  Holborn. 

Mr  Carr  (second  clerk) :  Is  that  Church 
of  England  ? 

The  Woman :  I  don't  know.  You 
ought  to  know ;  you're  more  learned 
than  me. 

Mr  H.  Smith  :  Is  it  a  Roman  Catholic 
Church  ? 

Th«  Woman:  Well,  it's  between  the 
two.  It  ain't  Roman  Catholic,  and  yet 

Go  ivithout  Passport 

Gold  Hunters 

it's  very   High.      It's  a   go-between. — 
D.  T.,  5th  February  1897. 

Go  without  passport  (Amer. 
1860).  Commit  suicide. 

Go  wrong  (Soc.,  1870).  Antithesis 
of  prosper. 

Goes  Fanti  (Scientific,  19  cent.). 
Tendency  to  return  to  primitive  life- 

Another  sort  of  man  simply  'goes 
Fanti,'  like  the  Rev.  John  Greedy,  M.  A., 
Oxon,  and  reverts  to  savagery. — D.  N., 
25th  August  1887. 

Going  'ome  (L.  Class).    Dying. 

Going  into  laager  (Colonial,  pass- 
ing to  England).  Taking  precau- 
tions against  danger.  From  S.  Africa, 
where  the  farmers  in  a  given  district, 
when  fearing  an  attack  from  natives, 
assemble  their  waggons  and  form  them 
into  a  zigzag  circle  or  square,  and 
pitch  their  tents  within  it.  This  is 
going  into  laager. 

The  news  from  Bechuanaland  this 
morning  is  more  serious.  The  magis- 
trate and  farmers  at  Kuruman  have 
gone  into  laager.— D.  T.,  9th  January 

Going  ter  keep  a  peanner-shop 
(Street,  London).  Evidence  of  com- 
plete grandeur,  said  aloud  of  and  to  a 
neighbour  or  other  person  passing  in 
all  the  flaunting  array  adapted  to 

Going  to  Calabar  (Naval).  Dying 
— from  Calabar  being  situated  on  the 
marshy  estuary  of  Cross  River,  West 
Coast  of  Africa,  and  particularly  one 
of  the  spots  called  white  men's  graves. 

Going  to  buy  anything?  (Streets, 
1896  on).  Evasive  request  for  a  drink. 
One  man  who  wants  refreshment 
badly  meets  another,  and  puts  this 
minute  inquiry. 

Going  to  see  a  dawg  (Sporting}. 
Meaning  a  woman,  whose  social  posi- 
tion may  be  assumed  by  her  associa- 
tion with  'dawg' — always  thus  spelt 
or  pronounced. 

Going  to  see  a  man  (Anglo- Amer., 
1883).  Going  to  get  a  drink. 

A  young  fellow,  who  had  a  pretty 
young  woman  iu  tow,  got  up  after  each 
act  and  went  out.  When  he  came  back 
the  second  time  his  companion  asked : 
'Did  you  see  him?'  'See  whom?'  he 
demanded.  '  The  man  you  went  to  see. ' 
'  I  didn't  go  out  to  see  a  man  ;  I  wanted 
to  get  a  drink,'  was  the  candid  rejoinder. 

The  chronicler  adds  that  the  frankness 
of  this  admission  so  overpowered  her 
that  she  could  only  squeeze  his  hand  and 
say,  '  Oh,  George  !  and  was  it  good  ? ' — 
Ref.,  6th  September  1885. 

Gone  coon  (Amer.  -Eng. ).  Raccoon, 
which  has  taken  refuge  in  a  tree,  and 
thus  offers  a  perfect  aim  to  the  sports- 
man. Conquered,  trapped. 

Gone  over  a  goodish  bit  of  grass 
(Peoples'}.  Tough— referring  to  a  very 
hard  leg  of  mutton,  presumably  old. 
Good  example  of  evasive  satire. 

Gone  through  Hades  with  his  hat 
off  (Amer.— just  understood  in  Eng- 
land). Bold. 

Gone  through  the  sieve  (Managers'). 
Bankrupt— lost  from  sight. 

Gone  to  Chicago  (Eng.-Amer.). 
Vanished,  levanted.  Last  outcome 
( 1884)  of  G.  T.  T.  (q.v.). 

The  spectacle  of  half  a  score  of  gold- 
laced  and  brass-buttoned  generals  in  full 
uniform  gravely  discussing  whether  a 
fellow-officer  was  or  was  not  wanting  in 
proper  respect  for  a  civilian  now  shorn 
of  official  station  and  '  gone  to  Chicago ' 
cannot  fail  to  be  inspiring.—  New  York 
Mercury,  April  1885. 

Gone  to  Rome  (Obscure}.  Become 

Catholic  Spain  still  keeps  up  her  old 
traditions  of  Holy  Week  observances  and 
religious  ceremonies.  When  the  clock 
strikes  ten  on  the  morning  of  Maundy 
Thursday  all  carriage,  cart  and  tramway- 
car  traffic  ceases,  even  in  the  streets  of 
Madrid  ;  and  the  capital  of  Spain  be- 
comes a  Silent  City  for  forty- eight  hours, 
until  ten  o'clock  strikes  on  Saturday 
morning,  and  the  bells  of  the  churches 
'  return  from  Rome ',  as  the  popular  say- 
ing has  it,  and  announce  High  Mass. — 
D.  N. ,  4th  April  1890. 

(See  Sent  to  Coventry. ) 

Godfer  (Peoples').  Troublesome 
child.  Short  for  God-forsaken. 

God-forbids  (Rhyming).  Kids  —  a 
cynical  mode  of  describing  children, 
by  poor  men  who  dread  a  long  family. 

God-speed  (Nautical).  Hospitable 
meal  given  when  a  vessel  is  about  to 

Mr  Sutherland  at  a  God-speed  party 
on  board  the  Valetta  said,  etc.— D.  N.t 
3rd  March  1884. 

Golblast  (Amer.,  1883).  A  mild 

Gold  hunters  (American}. 



Got  Line 

Gom  (Political,  1883).  G.O.M. 
became  a  word.  Coined  on  the  initials 
of  Graiid  Old  Man  — Mr  Gladstone, 
who  in  this  year  was  quite  the  idol 
of  the  people. 

Gonnows  (  Women  of  Lower  Class, 
19  cent.).  God  knows— with  the  'd' 
elided.  '  Gonnows  I'm  innercent  Mrs 
Biffley — gonnows  that.' 

Gonoph  (E.  London).  Thief — this 
word  being  Hebrew  for  the  same. 

Good  curtain  (Theatrical).  Good 
ending  to  an  act. 

Good  hiding  (Peoples').  The  good 
refers  to  the  hider,  not  the  hided. 
The  second  word  refers  to  the  hide, 
or  skin  of  the  victim. 

Good  strange  (Queen  Ann).  God's 
strings,  that  is,  the  cords  which 
bound  —  string  having  possibly  been 
pronounced  strang,  as  it  still  is  in 
some  parts  of  England. 

Good  strange  —  I  swear  I'm  almost 
tipsy. — Congreve,  The  Double  Dealer. 

Good  thing  out  of  it  (Peoples' 
Hist. ) .  Success  —probably  not  wholly 
unaccompanied  by  smartness. 

Meantime  it  is  as  well  to  put  in  a  word 
of  warning  against  the  notion  that  the 
British  Government  seeks  —  to  use  a 
common  commercial  phrase — to  make  a 
'  good  thing  oat  of  it '  from  a  financial 
point  of  view. — D.  T.,  18th  January 

Good  young  man  (L.  Peoples', 
1881).  Catch  phrase  for  hypocrite. 
Brought  in  by  Mr  Arthur  Roberts  in 
a  song.  (See  Bad  young  man.) 

Goose  (U.S.A.).  Practical  joke. 
Has  nothing  to  do  with  goosing  in 

Gooseberry-picker  (Soc.—old).  A 
confidant  in  love  matters,  who  shields 
the  couple,  and  brings  about  inter- 
views between  them. 

Gorblimeries  (Police).    Seven  Dials. 

Gorblimy  (about  1875).  A  gutter 
phrase  A  corruption  of  'God  blind 

Gord  keep  us  (London- Jewish).  A 
vulgar  translation  of  one  of  the  most 
beautiful  Hebrew  ejaculations. 

Gordelpus  (Street).  A  '  starver, '  or 
casual,  who  has  obtained  this  name 
from  his  ordinary  exclamation  — 
'Gordelpus  (God  help  us) — what's  a 
cove  ter  do  ? ' 

Gosh  ding  (Anglo- Amer.).  God 

Gospel  according  to  St  Jeames 

(Soc.,  1847  on).  Snobbery,  abject 
devotion  to  persons  of  position. 
Derived  from  Thackeray's  Jeames  de 
la  Pluche. 

Gospel  of  gloom  (Anti  -  aesthetic, 
1880).  Satirical  description  of 
sestheticism  which  tended  to  doleful 
colours,  gloomy  houses,  sad  limp 
dresses,  and  solemn,  earnest  behaviour. 

As  what  was  called  '  the  artistic  dress ' 
was  never  adopted  by  acknowledged 
beauties  or  ladies  of  rank  and  fashion  so 
did  that  theory  of  house  decoration 
familiarly  known  as  '  the  gospel  of  gloom ', 
completely  fail  to  obtain  any  grip  in 
Grosvenor,  Berkeley,  St  James's,  or 
Belgrave  Square. — D.  N.  Workers,  etc., 
17th  September  1898. 

Gospel  of  the  tub  (Society,  1845). 
The  mania  for  the  use  of  cold  water. 

A  bath  was,  all  over  Europe,  a  luxury, 
or  a  remedy  for  illness,  until  what  has 
been  called  the  gospel  of  the  tub  was 
commenced  in  England.  Athletics,  tub- 
bing, and  the  Broad  Church  seized  on 
the  English  mind  together,  and  cold 
water  was  preached  as  the  great  pre- 
server of  strength  and  beauty. — D.  N., 
9th  February  1883. 

Got  a  clock  (Peoples',  Historical). 
Carrying  a  handbag.  The  creation  of 
this  phrase  is  quite  historical.  The 
first  serious  explosion  by  dynamite  in 
London  (Victoria  Terminus,  1883)  was 
effected  by  dynamite  in  connection 
with  an  American  clock  whose  hammer 
struck  the  trigger  of  a  pistol  whose 
charge  fired  the  explosion.  (See 
Fenian. ) 

Got  a  collar  on  (Street).    Stuck  up. 

Got  a  face  on  him  (Peoples'). 
Evasion  of  ugly. 

Got  the  crop  (Military  —  up  to 
1856).  Short  hair.  Until  after  the 
Crimean  War,  when  the  long  beards 
the  men  brought  home  resulted  in  the 
hair  being  close  cropped  as  a  matter 
of  natural  taste ;  hair  in  the  British 
army  was  worn  somewhat  long. 

Got  the  glow  (Com.  London). 
To  blush. 

Got  it  (General,  19  cent.).  The 
'  it '  here  is  very  emphatic,  and  means 
punishment  in  excelsis. 

Got  line  (Theatrical,  1870  on). 
Shortly  '  go '  ;  but  the  words  mean 


Got  Right 


more  than  this.  They  infer  vigour, 
grace,  strength  and  charm  in  move- 
ment, especially  in  dancing.  Only 
applied  to  women. 

Got  right  (Sporting,  19  cent.}. 

Mr  C.  Hibbert  has,  we  understand, 
sent  Kirkhnl  to  Jesse  Winfield  to  be  got 
right.  Jesse  is  a  good  trainer  and  rider, 
but  he  has  theories. — Eo.  News,  23rd 
January  1896. 

Got  swing  (Artistic  generally,  1880). 
Equivalent  to  'go',  vigour— or  the 
French  avoir  la  ligne. 

Got  thar  (Anglo- Amer.,  1880).  Got 
there— completion,  triumph,  victory. 

Got  the  morbs  (See.,  1880). 
Temporary  melancholia.  Abstract 
noun  coined  from  adjective  morbid. 

Got  the  pants  (Common}.  Panting 
from  over-exertion.  Figure  of  speech. 

Got  the  perpetual  (Peoples' ).  Chiefly 
confined  to  vigorous  and  go  ahead 
young  men. 

Got  the  shutters  up  (Peoples'}. 
Surly— from  the  silent  appearance  of 
a  closed  shop. 

Got  the  woefuls  (Peoples').  Miser- 
able, wretched,  in  the  dumps. 

Got  up  and  dusted  (Amer.-Eng.). 
Escaped — from  a  man  when  running 
away  throwing  up  the  dust  behind 

Got  up  no  end  (Peoples').  Magnifi- 
cent personal  display,  appertaining  to 
all  parts  of  the  dress  and  person. 

Cotter -dam-merung  (Soc.  1862). 
Grotesque  swearing  which  was  used 
after  Wagner  had -allowed  his  Ring  to 
be  performed  in  London  (1862). 

Gowned  (L.  Fashion,  1890  on). 
Evening  dressed. 

The  diamonds  worn  by  Mrs  Raleigh, 
exquisitely  '  gowned ' — we  believed  that 
is  the  word — would  not  bear  the  scrutiny 
of  the  experts  of  Hatton  Garden. — D.  T., 
26th  September  1895. 

Grab -bag  (Anglo-American). 
Tombola,  or  lucky  bag,  filled  with  small 
and  large  prizes  disguised  in  sawdust. 

Grabber  (Thieves').  Evasive  term 
amongst  the  fraternity  for  a  garotter. 

Grabbles  (Country).  Infantry. 
Probably  disguised  grubbies,  from  the 
evident  fact  that  the  infantry  are  not 
out  of  the  mud  as  are  the  cavalry. 

Grace  o'  God  (Financial).  Term 
given  to  the  copy  of  a  writ  issued  upon 
a  bill  of  exchange. 

Grandfather  Clock  (Peoples',  1868). 
High  eight-day  clock.  Never  had  a 
name  before  this  date.  From  an 
American  song  called  'My  Grand- 
father's Clock,'  which  became  popular 
and  gave  this  title. 

Grand  Old  Man  (Pol.,  1880-90). 
Mr  W.  E.  Gladstone.  Mr  Bradlaugh, 
although  claiming  no  originality  for 
this  phrase,  was  the  cause  of  its 
popularity,  through  introducing  it,  in 
reference  to  Mr  Gladstone,  in  a  speech 
at  Northampton. 

Five  minutes  later  an  almost  painful 
silence,  followed  by  a  craning  of  necks 
and  a  general  rising  from  chairs  and 
benches,  proclaimed  the  fact  that  the 
'  Grand  Old  Man '  had  been  seen 
emerging  from  the  central  doorway  at 
the  back  of  the  stage.— D.  T.,  September 
1896.  (SeeG.OM.) 

Grand  Young  Man  (Pol.,  1885). 
R,t.  Hon.  Joseph  Chamberlain  —  in 
contradiction  to  the  Grand  Old  Man. 

Granite-boys  (American).  People 
of  New  Hampshire,  which  is  a  granite- 
producing  territory 

Grass  before  breakfast  (Irish,  18 
cent,  and  early  19  cent.}.  Duel.  May 
be  a  jocular  derangement  of  grace 
before  breakfast. 

Dick  Dawson  had  a  message  conveyed 
to  him  from  O'Grady  requesting  the 
honour  of  his  company  the  next  morning 
to  'grass  before  breakfast'.  —  Lover, 
Handy  Andy,  ch.  xix. 

Grasses  (Printers'}.  A  cry  directed 
at  any  one  particularly  polite  ;  pro- 
bably from  French  gracieuse.  (See 
Bridges. ) 

Grave-digger  (Anglo  -  Ind.,  19 
cent.).  Strong  drink. 

Too  much  'route  marching,  pipe  - 
claying,  and  starching '  tends  to  dulness 
and  apathy,  whilst  it  leads  the  British 
soldier,  when  off  duty,  to  make  too  free 
an  acquaintance  with  the  '  grave-digger ', 
as  it  is  termed  in  India. — D.  T.,  21st 
August  1896. 

Graved  (Sheer  adopted  American). 
Buried.  (See  '  Nuptiated. ' ) 

Gray  -  mare  the  better  horse 
(Peoples').  Praise  of  a  wife,  as  more 
able  than  her  husband. 

Gray-mite  (American).  Vegetarian. 
From  one  Graham,  who  advocated 



Grinning  at  the  Daisy  Roots 

severe  vegetarianism.  Grahamite 
offered  an  irresistible  opening. 

Grease  (Westminster  School). — 
Struggle,  contention,  or  scramble 
of  any  kind,  short  of  actual  fighting. 

Grease.     See  Bit  o'  Grease. 

Grease-spot.  The  imaginary  result 
of  a  passage-at-arms. 

Greaser  (Navy,  1860-82).  A  scorn- 
ful way  of  describing  naval  engineers. 

Great  bed  of  Ware  (Peoples'). 
Anything  very  large  in  the  furniture 
way.  The  great  bed  of  Ware  was  at 
"Ware,  in  Hertfordshire,  until  near 
1870.  Shakespeare  speaks  of  the 
Great  Bed  of  Ware  in  Twelfth  Night. 

Great  bounce  (Am.,  1883).  Death. 
Everyday  Americans,  disgusted  possibly 
with  the  sentimental  fashion  of  describ- 
ing death  for  some  years  (see  Rocked 
to  sleep,  Joins  the  angels,  Sweet  bye 
and  bye,  etc.,  etc.)  invented  several 
grotesque  paraphrases  of  death  —  (see 
Set  to  music).  This  was  one  of  the 

Experience  has  shown  that  iron  steam- 
ships are  very  dangerous  in  case  of 
collisions,  so  the  only  plan  now  to 
increase  ocean  travel  will  be  to  build 
vessels  entirely  of  india  -  rubber.  A 
collision  between  vessels  would  hardly 
do  more  than  give  the  passengers  the 
grand  bounce. — Detroit  Free  Press,  1883. 

Great  horn-spoon  (American — pro- 
bably from  the  Dutch).  The  Deity. 

Great  Seizer  (Amer.  satirical). 
The  Sheriff. 

Greater  Britain  (Polit.).  Annexa- 
tion. Term  seriously  invented  by  Sir 
C.  Dilke  (1885)  to  include  all  colonies. 

Greater  London  (Soc.).  Popular, 
well-known.  *  He  belongs  to  Greater 
London' — meaning  that  he  is  more 
than  known  to  a  mere  division  of 
society.  Originally  invented  to  de- 
scribe the  vast  modern  increase  in 

Grecian  Bend  (1865-70).  A  satiri- 
cal description  of  a  stoop  forward  in 
walking  noticed  amongst  women  of 
extreme  fashion  during  the  last  years  of 
the  Second  French  Empire,  and  which 
was  due  to  the  use  of  enormously  high- 
heeled  French  boots.  The  fashion  fell 
with  the  Empire.  (See  "  Roman  Fall," 
"  Alexandra  Limp,"  "  Buxton  Limp.") 

Greedy  Scene  (Theatrical).  An 
acting  scene  in  which  a  principal  actor 

or  actress  clears  the  stage  in  order  to 
have  it  for  himself  or  herself,  and 
bring  down  the  curtain  upon  himself. 

Green  mountain  boys  (American). 
People  of  Vermont — a  droll  translation). 

Green,  To  be  (Railway,  not  yet 
come  to  people).  Be  cautious,  from 
green  through  the  railway  world  being 
the  colour  signal  for  caution.  Good 
example  of  changed  meaning — green 
still  in  one  sense  meaning  foolish,  in- 
experienced. (See  All  over  Red. ) 

Greenery  -  yallery  (Soc.,  1880-84). 
Distinctive  term  applied  to  the 
aesthetes  who  affected  this  peculiar 
'colour-tone'.  Derived  from  W.  S. 
Gilbert's  Patience. 

When  we  all  admired  maidens  clad, 
like  the  Goddess  Venus  in  an  obscure 
minor  poem,  'in  mourning  raiment  of 
green  and  grey',  when,  in  fact,  the 
'  greenery  yallery '  view  of  life  prevailed, 
then  blood  was  at  a  discount,  and 
albumen  ceased  to  be  firm  in  the 
market.— D.  N.,  llth  June  1885. 

Greens  (Hist.  Pre-reform).  Corrup- 
tion of  groans,  no  longer  compre- 
hensible after  the  reformation.  This 
word  has  got  coalesced  with  'agree- 
ings ' — these  referring  to  domesticity, 
and  thus  the  inexplicable  'greens' 
become  comprehensible. 

S'elp  me  greens,  yer  washup,  I  don't 
know  what  booze  is.  I'm  a  most  ill-used 

Grey  (Thieves').  Evasive  name  for 
silver — from  its  colour  presumably  ; 
and  figuratively,  money. 

Griminess  (Literature).  Eroticism 
in  literature,  especially  French. 

Attempt  to  write  a  novel  in  which  the 
characters  are  'all  good'  was  no  doubt 
a  spirited  reaction  against  the  prevalent 
'griminess'  of  French  fiction. — D.  N.. 
19th  January  1895. 

Grin  like  a  Cheshire  cat  (Peoples'). 
Fearfullest  grin  of  all. 

Grinning  at  the  daisy  roots  (Anglo- 
Indian).  Dead — singular  reminiscence 
of  home  fields,  daisies  being  absent 
from  the  Hindustanee  flora. 

For  thin  potations  are  fortunately 
in  favour,  and  the  old  -  fashioned 
gormandizers  of  twenty  dozen  of  oysters 
and  unlimited  stout  are  like  the  beer- 
swilling  'nabobs'  or  'old  Indians',  all, 
in  Calcutta  language,  'grinning  at  the 
daisy  -  roots'  now.  —  D.  N.t  25th 
September  1884. 


Grinning  Dears 


Grinning  dears  (Military].  Lines- 
man's nick-name  for  '  Grenadiers '. 

Groceries  sundries  (Trade).  Wine 
and  bottled  spirits  sold  furtively  on 
credit  to  women — the  bills  sent  in  to 
their  husbands  including  the  cost  of 
these  liquids,  itemed  as  (groceries 

Grogging  (Peoples').  Adulteration. 
Took  its  rise  from  making  false  grog 
by  pouring  boiling  water  into  empty 
whisky  barrels,  impregnated  with  the 
spirit.  Thence  passed  as  a  well-under- 
stood word  to  represent  adulteration  in 

Groping  for  Jesus  (Peoples',  1882). 
Public  prayer.  Derived  from  one  of 
the  imitative  military  orders  of  General 
Booth,  the  creator  of  the  Salvation 
Army.  They  did  actually  use  the  cry 
'  Grope  for  Jesus — grope  for  Jesus ', 
when  the  followers  fell  upon  their 

Groundling  (Theatre,  16  cent.). 
Occupier  of  the  pit,  probably  came  out 
of  the  bear-pit. 

Grouse  (Army).  Grumble  and 
growl.  This  is  a  provincial  word  still 
in  extensive  use  for  worrying  and 

Growler  -  shovers  (Peoples').  Cab- 

Grub  -  hamper  (Public  Schools'). 
Consignment  of  sweet  edibles  from 

Gruel  (American).  Sloppy  poetical 

Guanoing  the  mind  (Sor..,  1847). 
Reading  French  novels.  Invention 
of  Disraeli,  published  in  Tancred. 
Accepted  by  Geo.  Eliot.  "This  is  a 
piece  of  impiety  which  you  may  expect 
from  a  lady  who  has  been  guanoing 
her  mind  with  French  novels.  This  is 
the  impertinent  expression  of  Disraeli, 
who,  writing  himself  much  more 
detestable  stutf  than  ever  came  from  a 
French  pen,  can  do  nothing  better  to 
bamboozle  the  unfortunates  who  are 
seduced  into  reading  his  Twiwred,  than 
speaking  superciliously  of  all  other 
men  and  things." — Life,  vol.  i., 
p.  163. 

Guess  (American- English).  Think ; 
as  'I  guess  not'.  Supposed  to  have 
come  from  U.S.A.  to  England,  but  it 
seems  in  the  first  place  to  have  gone 
there  from  here.  Escalus,  in 

Shakespeare's   Measure  for    Measure, 
replies  to  a  question,  '  I  guess  not'. 

Guffoon  (Irish).  An  awkward, 
shambling  fellow.  From  Italian. 

Gugusse  (French — used  by  certain 
English  Catholics).  An  effeminate 
youth  who  frequents  the  private  com- 
pany of  priests.  In  Paris  (1880)  the 
word  was  taken  from  the  name  of  one 
of  the  novels  specially  directed  about 
this  time  at  the  French  priesthood. 

Guinea  gold  (Peoples',  18  cent.). 
Sincere — perfect.  The  gold  coin  of 
the  whole  eighteenth  century  was  made 
of  gold  from  the  coast  of  Guinea. 
It  was  of  a  magnificent  yellow  and 
gave  the  name  to  the  new  twenty-one 
shilling  coin. 

Guiver  (Street  Boy  Swells,  1890  on). 
The  tignasse  or  sweep  of  hair  worn 
down  on  the  forehead,  lower  and  lower 
as  the  '90's  proceeded.  (See  Quiff. ) 

Gum  (Lower  Peoples').  Said  to  be 
abbreviation  of  '  God  Almighty '. 

Gummed  (American-English  Boys'). 
American  boys'  ways  of  referring  to 
age.  '  He's  gummed ' — meaning  that 
he  has  no  teeth  left — that  he  is  only 
fit  to  die. 

Gummed  (Amer.-Eng.).  Equal  to 
damned.  Disguised  swearing.  Term 
very  common  in  U.S.A. 

Gum-suckers.  A  native  of  Tas- 
mania, where  gum-trees  abound;  a 

Gummy  (Sporting,  1870).  Swell,  a 
grandee.  Imported  by  English  racing 
book-makers  who  infested  and  infest 
Paris.  A  translation  of  '  gommeux '. 

Gummy  composer  (Musical).  Old 
and  insipid. 

Gun  -  flints  (Amer.).  People  of 
Rhode  Island. 

Gunnery  Jack  (Naval).  Gunnery 
lieutenant — very  popular  in  the  Navy 
during  the  Boer  War,  and  especially 
after  the  relief  of  Ladysmith. 

Gunning  (Amer.-Eng.).     Shooting, 

Gyle  (Fast  Life,  1850-78).  Shortened 
familiar,  and  secretive  title  for  Argyle 
Rooms,  Windmill  Street. 


H.  0.  G. 

Hand-me-down  Shop 


H.  O.  G.  (American).  Satire  upon 
titles  of  honour — High  Old  Genius. 

H.  Q.  (Volunteers',  1860,  etc.). 
Abbreviation  of  Head  Quarters. 

Had  enough  (Street,  19  -cent.). 
Way  of  saying  a  man  is  drunk. 

Haggis  debate  (Parliamentary). 
Referring  to  Scotland  and  Scotch 

Hail  up  (Australian).  Put  up,  as 
at  an  inn.  Also  an  order  by  a  bush- 
ranger— an  intimation  to  throw  up  the 
hands,  so  that  no  weapon  shall  be 

Haines  (American- Eng.).  Intima- 
tion of  sudden  retreat.  Heard  in 
Liverpool,  whence  it  arrived  from  New 

Hair  raised  (American  -  Eng.). 
Feminine  quarrelling. 

Hairpin  (American  Soc.,  1882).  A 

Hake  (Cornish  Local).  Offensive 
description  of  a  man  of  St  Ives — pro- 
bably because  hake  is  a  very  common 
fish,  or  possibly  because  it  and  St  Ives 
smell  equally  fishy. 

It  is  an  unpardonable  sin  to  describe 
a  gentleman  of  St  Ives  as  a  'hake'. — 
D.  T.,  20th  August  1896. 

Half-a-brewer  (Low  Street,  1850). 

Half-a-doz  ( Theatrical).  Short  for 

Half-a-foot  o'  port  (Strand,  19 
cent. ).  Glass  of  that  wine  at  '  Short's ' 
—  opposite  Somerset  House.  From 
the  height  of  the  glass,  its  shape  being 
that  of  the  champagne  beaker  of  the 

In  the  front  department  we  have  the 
'  ladies '  who  are  the  life-long  companions 
of  hard  work,  and  enjoy  their  port  of 
uncertain  date,  at  3^d.  the  half  foot,  for 
the  size  of  the  long  glasses  warrants  this 
description.  —  People,  20th  November 

Halfalfanalf.     See  Arfarfanarf. 
_Half-and-half.     See  Arf-an-arf. 

Half  a  pint  of  mild  and  bitter 
(Tavern).  Intimated  by  a  whistled 
phrase,  well  known  to  bar  tenders, 

and  quite  as  readily  accepted  as  a 
spoken  order  throughout  London  — 
except  the  West  district. 

Half  a  ton  of  bones  done  up  in 
horsehair  (Sporting).  A  thin  ill- 
conditioned  young  horse. 

Half  -  a  -  yennork  (Com.  Londo-n). 

Half-crown  ball  (Mid.-CL,  1880). 
A  respectable,  commonplace  hop. 

Half -go.  Three  pennyworth  of 
spirits,  for  mixing  with  hot  or  cold 

Half -hour  gentleman  (Soc.,  1870). 
A  man  whose  breeding  is  only 
superficial.  (See  For-ever  gentleman). 

Half  -  past  nines  (Lond.  Streets). 
Very  large  feminine  boots  and  shoes — 
nines  being  a  large  size  even  for  men 
of  moderate  feet. 

Halfpenny  howling  swell  (1870- 
79).  An  imitation  howling  swell — a 
pretender.  (See  Brown.) 

Halfpenny-lot  day.  (See  'Apenny- 
lot  day.) 

Half-rats  (Peons',  1897).  Partially 

Half  up  the  pole  (Street).  Half 
drunk.  (See  Up  the  pole.) 

Hallelujah  galop  (Salvationists'). 
A  quick  hymn  in  £  or  f  time,  to 
which  they  inarched  —  invented  by 
General  Booth  to  attract  the  multitude. 

Hallelujah  lass.  (See  Ally  Luja 

Halligator  (Coffee-home).  One  of 
the  variety  of  names  for  herring. 

Hamburg  (Anglo-Indian).  Bazaar 

Hamlets  (Theatrical,  1885).  Ome- 
lettes—started on  Ash  Wednesday  by 
the  actors  of  the  Princess's  Theatre, 
where  Mr  Wilson  Barrett  was  then 
playing  Hamlet.  These  gay  souls 
dined  and  supped  at  the  Swiss  Hotel, 
Compton  Street,  and  necessarily  there- 
fore found  themselves  before  omelettes. 
They  were  dubbed  '  Hamlets '  —  and 
they  have  kept  the  name  in  'the 

Hammered  (N.  Country  Iron  Trade). 
Married — very  local  word. 

Hampshire  hog  (Sussex).  Hamp- 
shire man.  (See  Sussex  Sow. ) 

Hand  -  me  -  down  shop  (Poor). 
Illegal  pawnbroker's — where  halfpence 

Hand  of  Trumps 


are  advanced  upon  property  which  the 
Lombardians  will  not  look  at.  Used  to 
designate  the  shop.  (See  Ammedown.) 

Hand  of  Trumps  (Mid.  -  Class), 
Bound  to  win.  Victory. 

Handful  (Mid.  -  Class).  Trouble, 
difficulty.  Much  to  contend  with. 

Handy  Jack  (Peoples').  Con- 
temptuous form  of  'Jack  of  all 

Handy  man,  The  (Boer  War.  1899- 
1900).  Sailor.  When  the  Boers 
(October  1899)  overran  Natal,  the 
sailors  who  went  to  the  front  with 
cannon  showed  themselves  very  active. 

The  handy  man.  High  praise  for  the 
naval  brigade.— People,  1st  April  1900. 

Hang1  up  (Amer.).  Hold  your 

Hang  up  the  ladle  (Soc.,  18  cent.). 
To  marry. 

Hanover  jacks  (Peoples7).  Imitation 
sovereigns.  Probably  originally  false 
coins  bearing  the  effigy  of  Jacobus,  or 
James  II.,  sent  over  from  Germany, 
and  passed  as  genuine  in  William 
III.'s  reign.  It  may  be  doubted  if  the 
issuers  could  have  been  prosecuted — 
for  their  coins  were  not  imitations  of 
really  current  coin. 

On  searching  the  prisoner  I  found 
twenty-five  '  To  Hanover '  sovereigns 
usually  carried  by  magsmen,  several 
'Bank  of  Engraving'  notes,  and  two 
duplicates  relating  to  coats.  —  Police 
Report,  1888. 

Happen  on  (People's,  Old).  Dis- 

Happy  dosser.     (Se&'Appy  dosser.) 

Hard  and  fast  line  (Parliamentary). 
Equal  to  obstinacy,  argument  which 
refuses  to  hear  reason. 

Mr  Henley  did  not  after  1870  take  any 
prominent  part  in  the  debates.  Some  of 
his  sayings  will  probably  be  always  re- 
collected in  Parliament.  The  '  hard  and 
fast  line '  and  the  '  ugly  rush '  are  destined 
apparently  to  become  stock  phrases  in 
our  Parliamentary  controversy. — D.  N., 
10th  December  1884. 

Hard  on  the  setting  sun  (Anglo- 
Saxon  Hist.,  19  cent.).  Phrase  indi- 
cating utter  scorn  of  the  Red  Indian. 

'  Hard  on  the  setting  sun '  is  a  charac- 
teristic bye-word  with  which  to  signalise 
his  humiliation.—  People,  13th  June  1897. 

Hard  Simpson  (Milk-sellers').  Ice. 
Simpson  was  the  general  name  for 

water  up  to  the  time  when  the  intro- 
duction of  the  system  of  market  in- 
spectors put  an  end,  or  almost  an  end, 
to  adulterated  milk.  This  phrase  came 
out  in  a  police  court — 1865. 

Hard  tack  (Sailors').  A  sea  biscuit. 
In  passed-away  times  it  ivas  hard. 
Tack  is  the  diminutive  of  tackle,  to 
encounter.  (See  Soft  tack. ) 

Hard  up  (All  Classes).  Impe- 

Harder  (Anglo- Amer.).  Higher,  in 
reference  to  betting. 

Hardware  (Army  and  Navy,  1880). 
Ammunition  in  general,  and  shells  in 
particular.  Jocular  description. 

If  King  Theebaw  has  had  the  precau- 
tion to  lay  in  a  supply  of  torpedoes,  he 
may  be  able  to  give  the  expedition  some 
trouble,  but  the  chances  are  that  the 
authorities  at  Kangoon  may  have  had  an 
eye  on  such  kind  of  '  hardware '.  — D.  N, . 
12th  November  1885. 

Harlequin  Jack  (Law  Class).  A 
man  who  shows  off  equally  in  manner 
and  in  dress  ;  e.g.,  '  What  is  'e  ?— on'y 
a  'arlequin  Jack.' 

Haro.     To  yell.     (See  Cry  haro. ) 
Harrico  veins.     (See  'Arrico  veins.) 
Harriet    Lane    (Peoples',    1875). 
Australian    canned    meat — because   it 
had  the  appearance  of  chopped-up  meat; 
and  Harriet  Lane  was  chopped  up  by 
one  Wainwright. 

Harvested  (Amer.).  Guarded, 
watched  over. 

Hash  dispensary  (Amer.).  Board- 
ing house. 

Hash-slingers  (Amer.,  1880). 
College-student  waiters  in  up-mountain 

Hasty  pudding  (Peoples').  Literal 
— for  it  is  flour  and  water  boiled  and 
completed  in  five  minutes.  (See  Stir- 
about ;  Turn-round  pudding. ) 

Hatter?  Who's  your  (See  Bad 

Haussmannisation  (1860-70  on). 
Imperious  action  in  relation  to  the 
improvement  of  cities — without  refer- 
ence to  the  liberty  of  the  subject. 
From  Haussman,  the  minister  of 
Napoleon  III.,  under  whose  adminis- 
tration half  Paris,  for  political  pur- 
poses, was  pulled  down  and  rebuilt. 

But,  after  all,  the  possibilities  of  im- 
provement in  this  direction  are  strictly 
limited;    land  is  too  valuable,  and  the 

Have  a  Cab 


imperial  process  known  as  '  Haussmanni- 
sation '  would  not  in  all  cases  be  popular. 
— D.  T.,  12th  July  1898. 

Have  a  cab  (London).  Paraphrase 
for  admission  or  reproach  of  intoxica- 

Have  a  down  (Australian).  Bear 
a  grudge.  Very  significant  Saxon. 

Also,  the  handicapper  would  '  have  a 
down ' — as  the  phrase  goes  in  Sydney — 
on  that  owner  for  all  forthcoming  races. 
—JRef.,  26th  September  1886. 

Have  a  turn  (Pug.,  19  cent.).  A 
bout  of  fisticuffs,  a  pugilistic  skirmish. 

Ansburgh  even  told  one  of  the  officers 
that  he  would  have  liked  to  '  have  a  turn 
with  him ',  placing  himself  at  the  time  in 
a  sparring  attitude. — D.  N.,  10th  April 

Have  out  (Peoples',  1860).  To  hold 
a  frank  discussion,  verging  upon  per- 

But  she  cannot  forego  the  satisfaction 
of  '  having  it  out '  with  her  husband. — 
D.  N.,  2nd  April  1883. 

Have  to  rights  (Lower  Peoples', 
1880).  To  vanquish — frequently  used 
in  the  passive  voice. 

Have  to  wait  for  the  honey  (Devon- 
Wait  until  hungry. 

Havelock's  saints  (Military— In- 
dian Mutiny).  Teetotallers,  abstainers. 

Having  (Leicestershire).     Greedy. 

Mrs  Deane  was  proud  .  .  .  and  having 
enough — she  wouldn't  let  her  husband 
stand  still  for  want  of  spurring.— George 
Eliot,  Mill  on  the  Floss. 

Haw-haw  toff  (Street).  Swell, 
aristocrat — 'haw-haw'  being  an  ex- 
pression very  common  as  to  the  opening 
words  of  upper  class  men,  while  toff  is 
almost  the  sound  caused  by  haughtily 
drawing  in  the  breath  with  the  lower 
lip  on  the  edge  of  the  upper  teeth. 

Hawk  and  pigeon  (Soc.,  19  cent.). 
Villain  and  victim. 

The  station-sergeant  on  duty}>  not 
knowing  the  detective,  supposed  him  to 
be  the  accused.  'But  I  am  the  officer 
in  the  case.'  It  was  not  until  the  real 
captive  intervened  with  an  explanation 
that  hawk  and  pigeon  were  sorted  out 
properly  for  the  occasion.' — D.  T.,  17th 
June  1897. 

Hawking  (Amer.}.  Pouncing.  De- 
rived from  the  action  of  birds  of  prey 
crashing  on  their  quarry. 

Hawkins,  Sir  Frederic.  (See 

Haymaking  (College  and  Army). 
Practical  joking. 

A  number  of  men  go  into  a  friend's 
room,  find  him  absent,  and  testify  to 
their  chagrin  by  disturbing  the  arrange- 
ments of  his  furniture.  But  haymaking 
of  this  sort  is  comparatively  harmless 
and  inoffensive.— D.  N.,  1882. 

He  lies  at  the  Pool  of  Bethesda 
(St.  Beghs'i).  This  comes  from  the 
German.  To  lie  at  the  Pool  of  Bethesda 
is  used  proverbially  in  Germany,  in 
speaking  of  the  theological  candidates 
who  are  waiting  for  a  benefice. 

He  never  does  anything  wrong 
(Music  Hall,  1883).  Satirical  modb 
of  describing  a  man  who  never  does 
anything  right.  '  What  —  bankrupt 
again  ?  Oh,  impossible — he  never  does 
anything  wrong. ' 

He  worships  his  creator  (Soc.). 
Said  of  a  self-made  man  who  has  a 
good  opinion  of  himself.  . 

Heap  o'  coke  (Thieves',  Rhyming}. 
Bloke — which  means  a  comrade. 

Some  heaps  o'  coke  haven't  got  an 
ounce  of  cheek  in  them  until  they're 
Hatch  kennurd,  but  they  ain't  worth 
calling  into  account. 

Heap  o'  saucepan  lids  (Rhyming, 
1880).  Rhyming  with  dibs— money. 
This  is  one  of  the  trade  titles  for 
money,  and  comes  out  of  the  hard- 
ware trades. 

Heaping  in  (Amer. -Agri.}.  Ac- 
cumulating an  argument,  or  debt. 
From  heaping  in  produce. 

Heapy  (Rhyming}.  Bloke  (a  chum). 
Short  for  heap  o'  coke. 

Heated  term  (Amer.}.  Name  for 
the  short  but  fierce  American  summer. 

Hearthstone  ( Coffee  Palace}.  Butter. 
It  results  out  of  the  term  '  door-steps ', 
as  a  description  of  the  flight  of  three 
or  four  thick  slices  of  bread  and  butter 
on  a  small  plate.  The  action  of  rubbing 
hearthstone  over  house  -  steps,  and  of 
spreading  butter  thinly  on  the  slices 
of  bread  yielded  this  grotesque  figure 
of  speech. 

Heaves  (Com.  Class}.  Spasms. 
Graphic  description  of  the  complaint. 

Heavy  hand  (Com.  Peoples'}.  Deep 

Heavy  merchant  (Theatr.}.  Man 
who  plays  the  villain. 

Heckling  (N.B.,  18-19  cent.}.    Mild 
bullying  —  from    cock-fighting,   heck- 


Higher  Culture 

ling  being  the  process  of  pecking  out 
the  neck -feathers. 

Heckling  (Polit.,  1850  on).  Search- 
ing enquiry  by  way  of  questions  asked 
of  political  candidates.  From  passing 
hanks  of  raw  hemp  through  carding 

There  was  some  timid  heckling,  to 
which  Mr  Gladstone  good-humouredly 
replied.— D.  N.,  llth  November  1885. 

Hell  and  Tommy  (Old  English). 
Said  to  be  Hal  and  Tommy,  i.e., 
Henry  VIII.  and  Thomas  Cromwell — 
this  couple,  after  the  fall  of  Woolsey, 
playing  havoc  with  church  property. 
'  I'll  play  hell  and  tommy  with  you  ! ' 
In  all  probability  this  phrase  is  a  cor- 
ruption of  '  hell  and  torment'. 

Helter  -  skelter    (Historic).       Full 
speed.     Reid  says  :    '  Helter-skelter  is 
a  contraction  of  the  Latin,  Hilareter 
celerter — cheerfully  and  quickly.'    Pro- 
bably an  onomatope — very  .fortunately 
applied  when  Van  Tromp's  fleet  fled 
before  the  English — some  ships  north 
towards     the     Helder,     others    south 
towards  the  Scheldt  (Dutch  Skelder). 
And  helter-skelter  have 
I  rode  to  thee, 
And  tidings  do  I  bring. 

Shakespeare,  Henry  IV., 

2  part,  Act  5,  Sc.  3. 
He-male  (Com.  London,  1880).     A 
full  shape    of   male,     and    resulting 
from  calling  female  she-male  (q.v.). 

Hemp's  grown  for  you  (Peoples', 
17  cent.).  Periphrastic  prognostication 
of  the  gallows — flax  coming  from  hemp 
and  rope  from  flax.  Meaning  that 
already  the  executioner's  cord  is  in 
existence  for  the  beneficiary  referred 
to.  (See '  Dance  upon  nothing ',  '  Mount 
the  cart'.) 

Henri  Clark  (Drury  Lane,  1883). 
Flatter.  From  the  flattering  stage- 
mode  of  a  singer  of  this  name. 

Her  Majesty's  naval  police 
(19  cent.).  Sharks — whose  presence 
all  over  the  world  prevents  sailors  from 
deserting  by  way  of  harbour  water. 

Hercules  pillars  (Lit.  and  Soc. — 
from  Latin).  Limit  of  belief.  Gibraltar 
and  the  corresponding  rock  on  the 
African  coast,  were,  for  the  Roman, 
the  limits  of  the  world  of  waters,  and, 
colloquially,  of  any  extreme  statement. 

Hero-hotic  (Bohemia,  1897). 
Grotesque  pronunciation  of  'erotic' 

and  applied  to  the  more  eccentric 
novels  of  the  day. 

He's  saving  them  all    for  'Lisa 

(Peoples').  Said  of  a  good  young  man 
who  will  not  use  oaths  or  strike  blows. 
This  phrase  arose  in  consequence  of  a 
row  between  a  violent  beggar  and  a 
frank  young  man  of  the  people.  The 
mendicant  asked  for  a  copper,  the 
frank  youth  intimated  he  was  saving 
them  all  for  'Lisa.  A  fight  followed. 

Hess-u-hen  (Lower  Middle  Class). 
A  way  of  asking  for  a  copy  of  The 
Sun  newspaper. 

Hey  lass — let's  be  hammered  for 
life  on  Sunday !  Probably,  in  the 
first  place,  from  the  work  of  the 
blacksmith  at  Gretna  Green.  It  was 
said  of  him  jocularly  that  he  hammered 
couples  together  rather  than  married 

Heye-glass  weather  (Street,  1860 
on).  Foggy  —  requiring  the  help  of 
an  eye,  or  rather  eye-glass.  Attack 
upon  young  men  wearing  single  eye- 
glasses, which  became  common  in  this 

Hidgeot  (Street).  Gutter  transla- 
tion of  idiot. 

High  (Oxford).     High  Street. 

Why,  Oxford  has  laid  out  more  than 
£100,000  in  adding  a  barrack  for 
purposes  of  examinations  to  the  '  High  ', 
already  sufficiently  modernised  by  the 
tramway.— D.  N.,  February  1885. 

High  collar  and  short  shirts 
(Music  Hall,  1882).  This  was  an 
attack  upon  the  cheap  swells  of  the 

High  time,  or  (intensified),  High 
old  time  (American).  Jovial  period, 
enjoyment  without  much  control. 

'  Look  to  your  safes — the  burglars  are 
having  a  high  old  time  of  it. — G.  A. 
Sala,  /.  L.  News,  10th  February  1883. 

High  part  (Dublin  Theatrical). 
Satirical  phrase  for  the  gallery. 

High  shelf  (Peoples').    The  ground. 

Highflyer  (Nautical).     Slave-ship. 

High-grade  (American- Eng.,  1895). 
Superior.  From  railway  world — mean- 
ing steep — above  the  general  level. 

High  -  toned  coloured  society 
(American,  1882).  Negro-astheticism. 

Higher  culture  (Soc.,  1885  on). 
Oatch  word  of  enthusiastic  society 
people  interested  in  education,  who 


Highland  Fling 

Holloway  Castle 

assume  that  all  persons  are  capable  of 
advanced  education. 

Moreover,  even  if  we  neglect  to 
organise  in  this  way  the  force  which 
appears  to  be  thus  mysteriously  making 
for  '  the  higher  culture,'  its  mere  appear- 
ance among  us  is  a  highly  encouraging 
sign.— D.T.,  llth  February  1897. 

Highland  fling  (Political,  1881). 
Series  of  speeches  in  Scotland.  When 
Gladstone  (1879-80)  delivered  his 
famous  Midlothian  speeches,  this  term 
was  applied  to  the  statesman's  efforts, 
and  has  since  been  accepted  as 
representing  a  political  speech  delivered 
in  Scotland. 

Hill-top  literature.  Solid  advice. 
Derived  from  danger- board  warnings 
to  cyclists  on  the  summits  of  steep 

The  attention  which  is  now  being 
given  to  that  form  of  '  hill-top  literature ', 
known  as  '  danger-boards ',  has  resus- 
citated some  stories  concerning  them. 
It  is  said  that  in  Ireland  a  tourist  went 
down  a  steep  and  dangerous  hill  and 
was  astonished  to  observe  that  it  seemed 
to  be  without  the  necessary  warning. 
However,  when  he  got  to  the  foot  of  the 
descent  he  found  the  notice,  '  This  hill  is 
dangerous  to  cyclists '. — D.  T.,  14th  July 

Hinchinarfer  (Streets,  1880  on). 
Gruff-voiced  woman,  with  shrieking 
sisterhood  tendencies.  Obscure  erotic. 

His  hand  was  out  (Peoples'). 
Ready  to  take  all  and  everything  at 
all  times. 

Histed  (American,  outlying}.  Vigil- 
ance committee  evasion  for  hanged. 
Corruption  of  hoisted  —  pronounced 

Historical  (Society,  1882).  Old- 
fashioned—said  of  a  costume  or  bonnet 
which  has  been  seen  more  than  three 

Now,  though  dinner-dresses  are  rich, 
costly,  and  elaborate,  if  a  lady  appears 
at  a  fourth  dinner  or  even  a  third  in  the 
same  gown,  it  is  immediately  dubbed 
historical.  —  Fashion  as  it  ivas  and  is, 
D.  N.,  26th  December  1882. 

Hitch  up  (Anglo-American).  Start. 
From  harnessing  two  horses  to  run 

Ho  — he's  got  the  white  coat 
(Provincial).  Meaning  he  is  drunk. 

Hold  a  candle  (Peoples').  Be 
humble.  Serve  abjectly,  as  seen  in  the 
proverb.  Took  its  rise  from  the  habit 

of  a  host  receiving  an  honoured  guest 
by  holding  a  candle  in  each  hand  and 
walking  backwards  before  the  arrival. 

Hold  stock  (Eng.- American,  1879). 
Assertion  of  possession.  From  the 
money  brokering  operations  in  New 

I  do  not  come  as  a  grievance  monger  or 
complainant.  I  do  not  ask  for  your 
pity,  and  have  not  the  faintest  feeling 
of  revenge.  Those  were  the  passions  of 
youth — a  delightful  period  in  which,  as 
our  American  friends  phrase  it,  no 
longer  'held  any  stock'. — Mr  E.  Yates, 
at  Dinner  given  to  him,  London,  31st 
May  1885. 

Hold  up  (Society,  1860  on).  To  bo 
cheated  or  turned  to  account.  From 
the  American  highway  -  man's  habit 
of  calling  upon  his  victim  to  *  hold  up ' 
his  hands,  that  he  may  not  fire. 

Holding  up  the  corner  (Anglo- 
American).  Satirical  description  of  a 
leaning  idler. 

Hollanders  (S.  London,  1875-85). 
Pointed  waxed  moustache.  "When 
Napoleon  III.  became  popular  in 
England  (1854)  many  adopted  the 
chin-tuft  or  goatee  he  wore — a  tuft  to 
which  the  necessary  name  imperial 
was  given.  During  the  first  half  of 
the  19th  century  no  face  hair  in 
England  was  possible  below  the 
mutton-chop  whisker — probably  from 
national  horror  of  the  over-bearded 
faces  of  the  French  revolutionaries. 
A  Mr  "W.  Holland  became  a  popular 
lessee — he  at  last  reaching  Covent 
Garden  Theatre.  Throughout  his 
public  life  he  grew,  and  always  had  on 
hand,  or  rather  on  upper  lip,  the 
finest  pair  of  black  -  waxed  sheeny 
moustaches  ever  beheld. 

Holler  Cuss  (London,  1899).  From 
Holocauste — a  French  horse  in  the 
Derby  of  1899.  There  is  here  also  a 
little  satire,  for  the  horse  in  question 
showed  several  faults  in  form. 

Holocauste,  colloquially  '  Holler  Cuss ', 
excited  some  ribald  remarks  by  reason 
of  his  peculiar  hue.—  D.  T.,  1st  June 

Holloway  Castle  (Peoples').  Prison 
at  Holloway  (chiefly  for  debt),  in  the 
north  of  London;  hence,  sometimes 
called  North  Castle,  as  more  evasive 
than  Holloway. 

It  may  be  taken  as  highly  improbable 
that  Her  Grace  (of  Sutherland)  will  be 
subjected  to  the  indignities  which  are 


¥««L       ~^BV«*V-          -WVW          T^^BW^        J*A*»T^ 

.~,,iL_L-     ..-  "  — 

Hug  Centre 

Idle  Fellowships 

Hug  centre  (Amer.— passing  to 
England}.  Head  -  quarters  of  public 

Central  Park  as  a  hug  centre.  The 
amount  of  love  made  visible  in  Central 
Park  is  simply  appalling.  —  N.  Y. 
Mercury,  December  1882. 

The  word  was  soon  taken  up  in 
London,  Hyde  Park  doing  duty  as  a 
'  hug  centre '. 

Hullabaloo  (Peoples'}.  Noise,  dis- 
turbance. It  would  appear  to  be  a 
corruption  of  the  French  hurluberlu — 
the  accent  on  the  two  '  lu's  '. 

Hullo,  features !  (Com.  Peoples'). 
Friendly  salute  upon  meeting  an 

Hullo,  my  Buck  !  (Peoples').  Ex- 
clamation of  approbation.  Possibly 
from  Villiers,  Duke  of  Buckingham, 
or  from  the  idea  of  a  fine  deer.  Or  it 
may  be  from  buckram,  the  first  stiffen- 
ing used  in  making  men's  clothes.  In 
that  case  it  is  a  metaphor  from  the 
man  to  his  fashion. 

Hum  (Navy).  Crew's  name  for  the 

Hum  (Lower  Classes,  19  cent.). 
Smell  evilly.  This  is  an  application 
from  the  humming  of  fermentation  in 
an  active  manure  heap. 

Hum  (Peoples',  Hist.).  Attract 

Mr  Douglas  Sladen  has  given  new  life 
to  an  old  and  somewhat  decrepit  annual ; 
a  new  life  that  makes  it  '  hum '  in  the 
very  direction  the  reading  world  desires. 
—People,  4th  April  1897. 

Hunder-hand  (Street  Boys,  1880). 
Sudden  blow  given  with  advantage. 

Hung  (Artists',  19  cent.}.  Picture 
accepted  and  hung  at  an  Exhibition. 
' '  I'm  hung  at  the  Ac. "  (See  Walled. ) 

Hung  up  (Soc.,  1879).  Said  where 
in  lower  classes  stuck  up  would  be 
used.  From  the  American  —  where 
personal  catastrophe  is  referred  to  by 
this  phrase.  (See  Screwed  up.) 

Hunkered  down(  American  prairie). 
Stooped,  anchored  down. 

Hunter  (Soc.,  1880).  Hunting 

Jennings  was  on  Friday  presented  with 
a  gold  hunter  and  chain,  by  a  few  of  his 
kind  friends  in  front,  who  took  this 
opportunity  of  expressing  their  opinion 
of  his  form  as  man  and  manager. — Ref., 
9th  August  1885. 

Hupper  sukkles  (Soc.,  1846-70). 
Upper  circles.  Introduced  by 
Thackeray  in  the  De  la  Pluche 

Hurry  up  (Anglo-Indian,  1850).  Be 
quick — originated  in  the  river  steamer 
navigation  of  U.  S.  A. 

Hustler  (Amer.  Circus).  Name 
invented  for  flaming  advertisements. 

Hyde  Park  railings  (Streets  of  W. 
London).  Breast  of  mutton — from  the 
parallel  bones  suggesting  the  parallel 

Hyking  (Peoples'}.  Calling  out  at 
or  after  any  one. 

I.  T.  A.  (Peoples'}.  Euphemism  for 
Irish  toothache  (q.v.). 

I  believe  you,  my  boy  (L.  Class). 
Certainly.  Accepted  by  middle-class 
about  1850— from  the  drama  of  The 
Green  Bushes,  in  which  Paul  Bedford, 
then  a  most  popular  actor,  used  the 
phrase  as  a  catch  line. 

'Tis  forty  years  since  Buckstone's 
drama  The  Green  Bushes,  was  first 
played  at  the  Adelphi,  and  since  Paul 
Bedford's  '  I  believe  yer,  my  boy  ! '  found 
its  way  on  to  tongues  of  the  multitude. 
—Ref.,  18th  October  1885. 

I  refer  you  to  Smith  (1897). 
Synonym  of  Ananias— champion  long 
bowyer,  etc.  From  a  character  named 
Smith  with  an  affliction  of  lying  in 
The  Prodigal  Father  (Strand  Theatre, 

'  I  refer  you  to  Smith.'  This  will  be 
the  new  London  catchword.  Whenever 
anyone  has  been  drawing  the  long  bow, 
as  Harry  Paulton  does  in  the  new  play, 
whenever  a  boaster  has  been  telling 
tarrididles  or  lying  with  extra  vivacity, 
he  will  be  met  with  the  quick  rejoinder, 
'I  refer  you  to  Smith'.—/).  T.,  2nd 
February  1897. 

I  say  (Peoples',  19  cent. ).     Protest. 

Ichabod  (Nonconformist).  Lamenta- 
tion. From  Biblical  source.  '  Ichabod 
— Ichabod — I  have  lost  my  wealth. 
The  Lord  be  praised.' 

Idle  fellowships  (Oxford  and  Cam- 
bridge). The  old  as  distinct  from  the 
new  fellowships.  Parliamentary  action 
swept  away  towards  the  end  of  the 




19th  century  most  of  these  fatal  sine- 

Much  has  been  said  against  what  are 
called  idle  Fellowships.  —  Z>.  N.t 
November  1884. 

letqui  (0.  L.  —  Sporting).  A  re- 
markable shape  of  phrasing,  where 
the  first  letter  or  so  is  removed  from 
the  beginning  of  the  word  and  added 
at  the  end.  The  word  is  *  quiet'. 

He  (Complicated  rhyming}.  Dance — 
Isle  of  France— dance.  '  Can't  he  ile  ? ' 

I'll  give  you  Jim  Smith  (Street, 
1887).  Thrashing.  Sudden  adoption 
of  the  name  of  a  prize  fighter  to 
designate  fighting. 

Imperial  pop  (Street,  1854).  Pop 
is  ginger  beer,  derived  of  course  from 
the  sound  made  when  drawing  the 
cork.  The  adjective  was  added  by 
street  sellers  of  this  refreshment  when 
Napoleon  III.  passed  in  state  through 

Imperialists  (Polit.,  1888  on). 
Name  found  by  the  Radicals  (who  were 
in  favour  of  the  abandoning  of  the 
colonies)  for  the  Conservatives,  who 
wished  the  Empire  to  remain  intact. 

Impressionist  (Soc.t  1884).  In- 
tensely appealing  directly  to  the 

Of  late  years  we  are  accustomed  to 
take  our  notions  of  French  dramatic  art 
from  something  more  '  impressionist ' ; 
more  vivid  and  rapid  and  startling ; 
depending  more  on  sudden  effects  and 
bold  splashes  of  light  and  shade. — D. 
N.,  29th  April  1885. 

Improve  the  occasion  (American). 
Take  advantage  of  it. 

In  (Peoples').  Gain.  '  I'm  nothing 
in  by  that  deal.'  (See  Out. ) 

In  and  out  (Common).  Pauper  who 
gives  notice  frequently  to  leave  the 
poor-house,  and  who  returns  after  a 
short  holiday,  say  a  day,  or  from 
Saturday  to  Monday. 

There  are  considerable  numbers  of 
paupers,  it  seems,  who  find  the  work- 
house a  convenient  retreat  on  emergency, 
but  have  a  strong  aversion  to  permanent 
residence  there.  They  are  known 
familiarly  as  'the  ins-and-outs '.—  D.  N.t 
10th  December  1884. 

In  for  a  bad  thing  (Peoples',  1880 
on).  To  have  ill  luck. 

'  You  are  in  for  a  bad  thing,  Phil,  my 
boy.'— E.  N.,  23rd  February  1896. 

In  Paris  (Soc. ,  19  cent. ).    Eloped. 

In  the  drag  (Tailors').  Behind- 

Incident  (Amer.—  accepted  in  Eng- 
land). An  illegitimate  child. 

Indorse  (Amer.).    To  sanction. 

Inferior  portion  (Polit.  t  1885). 
Eighties  party  of  younger  Tories.  From 
a  letter  written  by  Mr  W.  E.  Gladstone, 
which  commenced 

My  Dear  Sir,— In  1879  and  1880  the 
inferior  portion  of  the  Tory  party  circu- 
lated a  multitude  of  untruths  concerning 
me,  etc. 

The  phrase  took  at  once,  and  was 
satirically  used. 

Ink-bottle  (Artisans').     A  clerk. 

Inkslinger  (Navy).  Purser's  clerk. 
Term  of  sovereign  contempt. 

Innocent  (Thieves',  Hist.).  Re- 
ferring to  a  term  of  undeserved  con- 

An  ex-convict,  who  admitted  having 
undergone  long  terms  of  penal  servitude, 
applied  to  Mr  Denman,  at  Westminster, 
complaining  that  his  worship  gave  him 
three  months'  '  innocent '  in  May  1893  at 
South- Western  Police  Court.—  D.  T., 
16th  October  1896. 

Inquiry  note  (Theat.,  1860).  Term 
came  into  use  when  provincial  com- 
panies were  replaced  by  travelling  ones. 
It  is  a  letter  asking  for  information  as 
to  what  nights  a  theatre  may  be  had 
for  performance. 

Ins  (Political,  19  cent.).  The  Minis- 
terial side  of  the  House  of  Commons. 
(See  Outs. ) 

Inside  (Thieves').  Abbreviation  of 
'  inside  a  prison '. 

Beaufort's  duke  trots  by,  and  then 
dashes  past  a  once  member  of  the  dan- 
gerous classes,  who  has  been  '  inside ' 
many  a  time  and  oft,  but  who,  having 
run  into  a  bit  of  ready,  will  now  go 
straight  while  straightness  pays. — Ref., 
14th  October  1888. 

Inside  of  (American).  A  very  em- 
phatic synonym  for  '  within '. 

Inside  the  mark  (Anglo- Amer.}. 

Inside  the  probable  (American- 
reaching  England).  Within  proba- 

Introduce  shoemaker  to  tailor 
(Peoples').  Evasive  metaphor  for 
fundamental  kicking. 

Inventories  (Soc. ,  1885).  Play  upon 
the  word  inventions.  In  the  previous 


Inveterate  Cockney 

Jacket,  To 

year  a  series  of  industrial  exhibitions 
had  been  started  in  the  then  gardens 
of  the  S.  Kensington  Museum.  This 
initial  display  was  the  '  Fisheries ',  and 
from  that  time  the  successive  exhibi- 
tions had  their  titles  changed  into 
plurals  in  '  ries '.  Hence  the  '  Inven- 
tions '  became  the  Inventories. 

As  all  the  world  knows  by  now,  London 
was  very  near  losing  its  '  Inventories  '  on 
Friday,  for  about  noon  a  fire  broke  out 
there,  and  for  some  time  threatened  to 
be  a  big  thing.—  Ref.,  14th  June  1885. 

This  is  the  close  of  the  season.  I  sup- 
pose the  Kensington  Inventories  has  had 
the  best  of  it,  and  owing  to  this  fact  I 
imagine  many  of  the  managers  may  be 
deprived  of  that  great  pleasure — paying 
income-tax.  —  Mr  J.  L.  Toole's  closing 
speech,  Toole's  Theatre,  7th  August  1885. 

Inveterate  Cockney  (Political, 
1885).  Ignorant  of  country  life  —  a 
mere  townsman. 

.  .  .  Now,  gentlemen,  there  are  three 
assumptions  in  this  calculation,  every  one 
of  which  I,  an  '  inveterate  Cockney ',  can 
see  at  a  single  glance  to  be  totally  in- 
accurate.— Mr  Joseph  Chamberlain,  14th 
October  1885. 

Invincibles  (Fenian,  1883).  Short 
for  Invincible  Brotherhood. 

Irish  draperies  (Peoples',  England). 

Irish  toothache  (Peoples).  En- 
ceinte. (See  I.  T.  A.) 

Irishman's  rest  (Peoples').  Going  up 
a  friend's  ladder  with  a  hod  of  bricks. 

Irons  (American).     Pistols. 

Irvingism  (Lond.  Soc.,  1880  on). 
Imitation  on  or  off  the  stage  of  the 
mode  of  speaking  and  bearing  of  Sir 
Henry  Irving. 

Mr  William  Felton  may  also  be  heard 
of  again.  The  '  Irvingism  '  of  his  voice 
was  obviously  natural  and  in  no  way 
assumed.— D.  T.,  12th  October  1896. 

Islands  (London).  Refuges  (q.v.) 
or  raised  pavements  in  centre  of 
roads,  to  facilitate  road-crossing  by 

The  statue  (Charles  I.,  Charing  Cross) 
being  situated  on  an  'island,'  a  certain 
amount  of  skirmishing  was  necessary  in 
order  to  reach  it.— D.  T.,  31st  January 

It  snowed  (Peoples' —from  America}. 
Catastrophe,  misery. 

Italian  quarrel  (Soc.).  Death, 
poison,  treachery,  remorselessness. 

It's  dogged  as  does  it  (Pugilistic). 

Mr  Benjamin's  race  and  nation  have 
generally  shown  themselves  perfectly 
alive  to  the  truth  of  the  principle  that 
'  it's  dogged  as  does  it ',  and  they  are  not 
as  a  rule  devoid  of  wits. — D.  N..  10th 
February  1883. 


J.  (Peoples').  Lost  reduction  of 
Juggins  (q.v.)— which  in  1884  was  quite 
exceptionally  popular. 

By  means  of  this  knowledge  we  find 
the  greatest  of  all  differences  between 
the  raid  on  betting  men  in  1869  and  the 
raid  on  professional  gamblers  and  their 
J.'s  twenty  years  after.—  Ref..  19th  April 

J.A.Y.  (Peoples',  1880  on).  Fool, 
over-trustful  person,  one  of  easy  belief. 

Our  business  is  not,  however,  with 
them  or  their  intentions  ;  what  we  have 
to  do  is  to  think  of  the  jays  who  offered 
about  ten  times  the  market  price  for  a 
ten-round  spar.— Ref.,  17th  November 

J.  S.  or  N.  or  D.  (Divorce  Court}. 
The  initials  of  the  three  forms  of 
disturbance  amongst  married  folk. 

Whether  it  was  an  application  for  a 
divorce,  a  judicial  separation,  or  for 
nullity  of  marriage,  no  one  outside  the 
parties  interested  will,  probably,  ever  be 
any  the  wiser,  since  the  letter  indicating 
this  (either  '  J.  S.',  or  'N.',  or  '  D.',  as 
the  case  may  be)  was  not  added  in  this 
instance,  for  some  inscrutable  reason. — 
People,  16th  August  1896. 

Jack  (Lambeth,  1865-72).  A  police- 
man— quite  local. 

Jack-a-dandy  (Rhyming).  Brandy. 
This  evolution  has  something  probably 
to  do  with  brandy,  as  being  the  most 
expensive  of  the  ordinary  spirits. 

Jack  ashore  (Peoples').  Jack 
elevated  —  practically  drunk,  and 

Jack  up  (Street).  To  quit  — 
especially  in  love  affairs. 

Jacked  it  (Obscure).     Died. 

Jacket  (Military}.  A  soldier  who 
wears  a  jacket  (chiefly  cavalry  or  horse 

Jacket,   To  (Peoples'}.     Threat  to 
hare  you  locked  up  as  a  madman. 



Jag  (Spanish  -  American  -  Eng.}. 
Desire  to  use  a  knife  against  somebody 
— to  jag  him. 

J  aggers  (Oxford).  Men  of  Jesus 

Jesus  College  men  were  called  'Jaggers', 
long  before  a  certain  messenger  -  boy 
played  the  part  of  Mercury  across  the 
Atlantic.— D.  T.,  14th  August  1899. 

Jailed  (Peoples',  1879).  Sent  to 
prison.  From  America,  through 
Liverpool,  over  England. 

Jakkitch  (Provincial).  Term  of 
opprobrium.  Probably  corruption  of 
Jack  Ketch. 

Jam  (Lower  Class,  1 880  on).  Pretty 
girl — presumably  of  easy  habits.  The 
history  of  this  word  is  very  interesting. 
A  girl  of  notoriety  in  Piccadilly  was 
named  '  Tart '.  She,  in  compliment  to 
her  sweetness,  came  to  be  styled  jam 
tart,  and  the  knowing  ones  would  ask — 
'  Would  you  like  a  bit  of  jam  tart  ? ' 
Then  the  tyranny  of  brevity  asserting 
itself,  the  phrase  became  'jam',  which 
lasted  twenty  years. 

Here's  a  timely  warning  for  all 
burlesque  writers.  The  Examiner  of 
Plays,  which  his  name  is  Pigott,  has 
determined  that  he  will  not  give  his 
sanction  to  the  production  of  any  piece 
in  which  the  word  'tart'  occurs.  It  ts 
not  yet  known  whether  orders  have  been 
issued  from  headquarters  to  all  dictionary 
publishers  to  wipe  the  word  out  of  the 
English  language  ;  but  the  order  has 
been  sent,  or  will  be,  first  to  the  burlesque 
makers,  and  to  the  dictionary-makers  it 
may  be  sent  tart-er. — Ref.,  27th  October 

Jam-pot  (Political,  1883-84).  One 
of  the  opprobrious  names  cast  at  Mr 
Gladstone— apropos  to  his  recommend- 
ing to  Englishmen  the  cultivation  of 
fruit  and  the  exportation  of  jam. 

Mr  Gladstone  is  insulted  day  after  day 
and  week  after  week  in  Tory  prints.  He 
is  a  jam-pot,  a  wood-cutter,  a  hopeless 
lunatic,  a  Jesuit,  an  Atheist,  a  windbag, 
a  storyteller,  an  idiot,  and  a  humbug. — 
G.  R.  Sims,  28th  September  1884. 

Jammiest  bits  of  jam  (Com.  Lon., 
1883).  Absolutely  perfect  young 

Jane  Shore's  fate  (Provincial — very 
ancient).  Death  in  penury  and  shame. 

Jap  crock  (Soc.,  I860  on).  Any 
piece  of  Japanese  porcelain  of  a  value 
from  £10,000  to  a  mere  lOd. 

Japanned  (Soc.,  1897-98).  Dressed 
or  furnished  in  Japanese  fashion.  Play 
upon  the  old  word  for  lacquering. 

The  play  is  '  japanned '  by  Mr  Arthur 
Diosy  of  the  Japan  Society.  —  From 
Daly's  Theatre,  London,  play  -  bill, 

Jarbee  (Navy).     Able  seaman. 

Jaundy  (Navy).  Master-at-arms. 
Supposed  to  be  from  '  gendarme '. 

Jaunty  (Peoples').  Self-sufficient  in 
appearance  or  words. 

Jawkins  (Club,  1846).  A  club  bore. 
Name-word  derived  from  Thackeray's 
'Book  of  Snobs'. 

Jay  town  (Anglo  -  Amer.,  1889). 

A  brother-journalist  who  has  spent 
some  years  in  the  United  States  has 
written  explaining  to  me  the  meaning  of 
a  'jay  town ' — term  alleged  to  have  been 
used  by  Mrs  Kendal  in  describing  San 
Francisco.  A  jay  town  is  a  country  town. 
A  'jay'  or  a  'yapp'  is  the  American 
equivalent  of  an  English  yokel  or  country 
bumpkin.—  Ref.,  25th  November  1894. 

Jayhawkers  (American).  People  of 

Jee  (American).  Oath-like  expres- 
sion. First  syllable  of  Jerusalem. 
'  Jee  !  You  don't  dare  to  do  it ! ' 

Jeff  (Anglo  -  American,  1862  -  83). 
Master,  superintendent,  director, 

Jenny,  To  ( Thieves').    Comprehend. 

Jeremiah,  To  (Peoples').  To 
complain  —  from  the  character  of 
that  prophet. 

Jeremiah-mongering  (Soc.,  1885). 
Deplorable  and  needless  lamentation. 
Invented  to  describe  the  social 
behaviour  of  those  who  after  the  fall 
of  Khartoum  went  around  maintaining 
that  England  had  indeed  come  to  a 

Jerking  a  wheeze  (Theatrical, 
1860).  Telling  a  wheeze  (q.v.)  with 
brilliant  effect. 

Jersey  hop  (1883).  An  un- 
ceremonious assembly  of  persons  with 
a  common  taste  for  valsing ;  from 
Jersey,  U.S.A. 

Jesus'-eyes  (Papal).  Forget-me- 

Jettisonise  (Col.,  19  cent.).  Im- 
ported—placed on  a  jetty. 


Jeune  Sikcle 


Jeune  siecle  (Soc.,  20  cent.). 
Conversion  of  fin  de  siecle,  and  de- 
scribing people  equally  of  the  same 
social  behaviour.  Of  course  from 

Jib  (Soc.,  1848-80).  Flat- folding, 
'chimney-pot'  hat,  closed  by  springs 
set  in  centre  of  vertical  ribs.  Name 
from  that  of  the  French  inventor 

Jib,  Big  (Navy).  Good  wishes  — 
'  Long  may  your  big  jib  draw ' 
ostensibly  refers  to  a  valuable  sail, 
but  furtively  has  an  erotic  meaning. 
Practically  it  is  wishing  a  man,  who 
has  served  his  time  and  is  leaving  the 
service,  health  and  happiness. 

Jig-got  o'  mutton  ( Thieves').  French 
— gigot. 

Jimmies  (Hist.,  17  cent.).  Guineas 
— in  the  reign  of  James  II.  Remains 
to  this  day. 

Jimmy  Bungs  (Navy).     Coopers. 

Jimmy  Rounds  (Nelsonic  Period). 
Frenchmen — according  to  the  Jack  Tar 
of  the  wars  with  France  in  Nelson's 
time.  From  the  cry  of  the  French 
sailor  when  face  to  face  with  the 
English  mariner— ,/e  me  rends. 

Joburg  (Military,  1900  on). 

Jinks  the  Barber  (M.  Class,  1850). 
Secret  informant.  Idea  suggested  by 
the  general  barber  being  such  a 
gossiper.  Jinks  is  a  familiar  name  for 
an  easy-going  man.  Invented  by 
Pierce  Egan. 

Job  (Peoples',  Hist.}.  Hen-pecked 
husband.  Patient  origin  obvious. 
Douglas  Jerrold  gave  this  Biblical 
name  to  Mr  Caudle. 

Jobanjeramiah(Peo^gs').  Maunderer 
—  combination  of  the  two  doleful 

Jockies,  By  (American- Provincial). 
Said  to  be  survival  of  early  English  ; 
'  By  Jesus '  cries. 

Jockeying  (London  Streets,  19  cent.). 
Vehicular  racing. 

Joey  (Theatrical).  To  mug,  or 
attract  the  attention  of  the  public, 
while  the  'mugger'  is  up  the  stage, 
and  should  be  quiet,  letting  actors 
"down  the  stage"  have  their  chance. 

John  Fortnight  ( Workmen's 
London).  The  tallyman  —  from  his 
calling  every  other  week. 

The  tallyman,  or  '  John  Fortnight ',  as 
the  humorists  call  him,  and  the  caller 
for  the  club  -  money  secure  varying 

Johnny  Crapose  (Peoples').  French- 
men. The  second  word  is  '  crapaud ', 
but  how  comes  it  that  this  word  has 
been  accepted  in  conjunction  with 
Johnny  to  describe  a  Frenchman  ? 

Johnny  Horner  (Rhyming).  Round 
the  corner — meaning  a  public-house. 

Joined  the  angels  (Amer.,  1880). 
One  of  the  ways  of  mentioning  death. 
'  Do  not  ask  me  after  my  dear  John 
Thomas— he  has  joined  the  angels.' 

Joint  (Street).     Wife. 

Jolly  (Middle  Class).  Rally,  a  shout, 
a  chevy.  This  word  is  evidently  very 

He  chanced  to  come  where  was  a  jolly 
Knight. — Spenser. 

Those  were  jolly  days. — Dryden. 

While  the  jolly  horns    lead  on  pro- 
pitious day. — Milton. 

The  jolly  hunting  band  convene. 

— Beattie. 

Jolly  utter  (London,  1881).  One  of 
the  phrases  resulting  out  of  Punch's 
attack  (1881)  upon  the  Esthetic 
School.  This  is  to  be  found  in  Sir  W. 
S.  Gilbert's  piece  Patience. 

Broken  Hearts  is  rather  a  ticklish  piece 
to  tackle.  Badly  or  even  carelessly 
played,  the  love-sickness  and  the  moon- 
struckness  would  be  quite  too  jolly  utter 
for  the  ordinary  Philistine  mind  to  stand. 
— Ref.,  18th  February  1883. 

Jonah  (Theatrical,  1883).  An  actor 
who  brings  bad  luck  to  a  theatre. 
Suggests  the  superstition  of  the  evil 
eye.  From  Jonah's  supposed  ill-luck 
— bringing  catastrophe,  when  at  sea. 
Apt  antithesis  to  Mascotte. 

Joseph  and  Jesse  (Polit.,  1886). 
Political  satiric  cry  against  Mr  Joseph 
Chamberlain  and  Mr  Jesse  Collings, 
raised  immediately  after  the  latter  took 
office  (February  1886). 

The  amendment  did  not  expressly  con- 
tain the  principle  of  compulsion,  and  the 
speech  of  Mr  Collings  is  not  binding  upon 
the  House  of  Commons  or  the  Govern- 
ment. But,  as  Mr  Chaplin  rather  neatly 
put  it  on  the  night  of  his  last  appearance 
as  Chancellor  of  the  Duchy,  '  the  voice  is 
the  voice  of  Jesse,  the  hand  is  the 
hand  of  Joseph.— D.  N..  26th  February 
1886.  ' 




(Hong-Kong).      A   swell,   a 
From  joss,  the  name  of  the 


Keep  the  Devil  Out  of  One's  Clothes 

figures  of  Chinese  gods,  with  the 
personal  'er'  added.  Suggested  by 
observation  of  the  request  paid  by  the 
Chinese  to  the  'joss'. 

Jubilee  (Mid.  Class,  1887).  The 
Jubilee  (1887)  came  to  be  applied  in 
many  ways  —  but  one,  satirically 
descriptive  of  supremacy  chiefly 

Judaic  superbacey  (C.  Garden  and 
vicinity,  1897).  Jew  in  all  the  glory 
of  his  best  clothes — generally  a  young 
Joseph,  or  a  young  old  David. 

Judy  -  slayer  (London,  Jewish). 

Juggins's  boy  (L.  Lond.,  1882). 
The  sharp  and  impudent  son  of  a 
stupid  and  easily  ridiculed  father. 

Juggins-hunting  (Tavern).  Look- 
ing for  a  man  who  will  pay  for  liquor. 

Jumbo  (London,  1882).  Anything 
particularly  large  and  striking  became 
a  'jumbo' — there  being  at  this  time  a 
large  elephant  of  that  name  in  the  Zoo. 

The  vulgar  assert  that  Epsom  is  a  very 
hotbed  of  training  theories,  and  it  must 
be  admitted  that  it  has  its  peculiarities 
in  this  direction.  Nay,  did  it  not  pro- 
duce the  genial  Mr  Ellis,  whom  the 
wicked  called  'Jumbo'?— E.  N.,  23rd 
January  1896. 

Mr  Ellis  was  a  big,  heavy,  solemn 
official.  Some  months  after  Jumbo's 
expatriation,  a  very  tall  man  appeared 
in  Drury  Lane  Theatre,  and  all  the 
boys  on  hand,  yelled  '  Jumbo ' ;  an 
amiable  Bavarian  eight-foot  giantess 
was  trotted  out  at  a  music  hall — she 
was  at  once  baptised  Jumba  by  the 
very  press  itself. 

Jumbo  (Tavern,  1882).  The 
Elephant  and  Castle  Tavern,  S. 
London.  (See  Animal.) 

Jumboism  (Polit.,  1882).  The 
Liberals  having  invented  Jingoism 
to  describe  the  warlike  tendency  of 
the  Conservative  party,  this  latter 
took  advantage  of  the  Jumbo  craze  to 
dub  the  hesitative  policy  of  the  Liberal 
Whigs  jumboism. 

Jump  bail  (Anglo-American).  To 
run  away  from  it.  Both  jumped  their 

Jumped  up  swell  (Street).  Sudden 
leap  from  rags  to  royal  raiment ;  also 
a  ton0  in  a  hurry. 

Jumping    Moses    (Amer.  -  Eng.). 

Exclamation     equivalent     to     Great 

June  too-too  (Peoples',  1897).  June 
22  in  1897— the  celebration  of  the 
sixtieth  anniversary  of  the  Queen's 
reign.  Survival,  or  rather  resuscita- 
tion of  the  phrase  'too-too',  satirically 
directed  against  sestheticism  in  the 
'80's  —  meaning  (satirically)  too,  too 
good.  Here  used  as  a  comic  variation 
of  '  22  '—two  two. 

Jupiter  Scapin  (Parisian,  1810). 
Napoleon  I.  Used  in  England  now 
and  again  to  indicate  a  tricky  minister. 

Just  ached  (American).     Longed. 

Just  too  sweet  for  anything 
(American).  Highest  form  of  praise. 

K.A.B.G.N.A.L.S.  (Myttic).  The 
letters  of  back  slang  (less  the  needless 
'c'),  and  uttered  rapidly  to  indicate 
that  this  mode  of  conversation  will  be 
agreeable  to  speaker.  Another  form  is 
Kabac  genals. 

Kangaroo  (Nautical  in  origin).  A 
tall,  thin  man,  especially  ill-shaped 
and  round-shouldered. 

Kansas  neck -blister  (American). 

The  same  with  a  knife.  Horsemen, 
when  travelling,  carry  it  in  the  boot,  and 
footmen  down  the  neck  ;  hence  a  bowie- 
knife  is  popularly  known  as  a  'Kansas 
neck-blister'.  —All  Year  Round,  31st 
October  1883. 

Kaps walla  (N.  American- Indian). 
To  steal— adopted  from  the  original  by 
American  thieves. 

Katterzem  (Scotland).  Quartor- 
sieme.  A  man  willing  to  go  out  dining 
at  a  moment's  notice — a  parasite. 

Kee  gee  (E.  London,  1860).  Go, 

Keep  off  the  grass  (Peoples').  Be 

Keep  the  boiler  clear  (Engineers', 
1840).  Watch  your  stomach  —  in 
reference  to  health. 

Keep  the  devil  out  of  one's  clothes 
(American  —probably  from  Dutch). 
To  fight  against  poverty. 


Keep  up  Old  Queen 

Kicked  the  Cat 

Keep  up,  old  queen  (Street).  Vale- 
diction addressed  by  common  women 
to  a  sister  being  escorted  into  a  prison 

Keep  yer  'air  on  (L.  Class,  1800  on). 
A  favourite  monitory  proverb  recom- 
mending patience  as  distinct  from 
impatience,  and  tearing  the  'air  off. 

Keep  your  nose  clean  (Army). 
Avoid  drink. 

Keep  yourself  good  all  through 
(Soc.,  1882).  Modern  paraphrase  of 
Keep  yourself  unspotted  from  the 

Keeping  Dovercourt  (E.  Anglia). 
Making  a  great  noise.  Dovercourt 
(Essex)  was  once  celebrated  for  its 
scolds— this  we  have  on  the  authority 
of  Halliwell.  On  the  other  hand  the 
term  may  come  from  the  great  noise 
made  by  a  local  insect  called  the 
Dovercourt  beetle. 

Kemble  pipe  (Hereford).  Last  pipe 
of  the  evening.  An  ancestor  of  John 
Kemble,  a  Catholic  priest,  suffered 
martyrdom  at  Hereford,  in  the 
seventeenth  century.  On  his  way 
to  execution  he  smoked  his  pipe 
and  conversed  with  his  friends. 

Kenealyism  (Soc.,  1874).  Social 
method  composed  of  alternate  pro- 
found humility  and  complete  rebuke 
—  supposed  to  have  been  invented 
from  Dr  Kenealy,  who  in  this  year 
defended  Arthur  Orton,  called  'the 
claimant',  upon  a  charge  of  perjury. 
Orton  claimed  to  be  Sir  Roger  Tich- 

Kentucky  loo  (Students').  Summer 
gaming  operation.  (See  Fly  loo.) 

Kepple's  snob  (Naval,  1870).  Ex- 
pression of  scorn  by  superfine  naval 
young  officers.  '  The  Kepple's  Head ', 
named  after  the  admiral.  The  uaval 
clubmen  have  converted  knob  into 
snob.  '  Cut  him — he  puts  up  at  the 
"Kepple's  snob".' 

Kerwollop  (Amer.,  19  cent.).  To 
beat,  or  wallop.  '  Ker '  is  also  fre- 
quently used  before  words  implying 
movement,  as  kersmash,  kerbang, 
kerash  (crash),  kerflummux,  kerslap. 
(See  Artemus  Ward—'  I  went  kerwallop 
over  the  fence.') 

Kew  (Reverse  Slang).  Week— spelt 
with  one  '  e '. 

Key-vee  (Peoples',  1862).  Alert,  on 
the  key-vee  —  of  course  a  corruption 

of  '  qui  vive,'  the  French  sentry 

Khaki  is  a  tint  once  called  Devon- 
shire grey.  It  was  recommended  by  a 
military  convention  (1882)  to  replace 
the  scarlet  cloth  of  the  British  army — 
this  scarlet  being  condemned  in  conse- 
quence of  its  offering  a  ready  mark  for 
the  distant  bullet. 

Khaki  (Military,  February  1900). 
Volunteer — especially  yeomanry 
volunteer  for  the  Boer  war,  1899-1900. 
Applied  in  all  ways— to  pease-pudding 
amongst  many,  from  the  colour. 
Hence  resulted  in  common  eating- 
houses  the  order,  'Cannon  and  Khaki,' 
i.e.,  round  beef-steak  pudding  and  a 
dump  of  pease -pudding. 

Kibe  ?  ( University).  To  whose 
benefit  ?  Abbreviation  of  '  cui  bono '. 

Kick  (A  nglo-A  merican) .  To  succeed 
in  pleasing  audience. 

Kick  (Costermongers').  Trousers — 
short  for  kicksies,  probably  from  the 
garment  being  that  in  which  the 
wearer  uses  his  boots  at  angles.  Or  it 
may  be  from  '  quelques  choses'. 

'That  dona's  dotty,'  said  Obadiah,  as 
he  gazed  upon  his  half-a-dollar,  and  put 
it  carefully  away  in  his  only  kick  ;  '  and 
now  for  a  jolly  spree.' 

If  the  burick  (wife)  wears  the  kicksies, 
that's  your  luck,  not  ours. 

Kick  is  also  used  by  thieves  for 
1  pocket ',  probably  because  the  kicksies 
or  trousers  have  pockets.  Fine  example 
of  application  of  the  title  of  a  whole 
to  a  portion. 

When  your  kick  is  empty,  and  your 
mouth  is  dry,  your  blooming  pals  will  not 
give  you  a  yannep  to  get  a  drop  of  four 

Kick  (Trade-tailors').  To  seek  for 
work  —  probably  suggested  by  a 
barbarous  mode  of  kicking  at  a  door, 
before  knocker  or  bell  was  invented. 

Kick  a  lung  out  (Anglo- Amer.). 
Severe  castigation. 

Kick  into  dry  goods  (American). 
To  dress— clothes  being  dry  goods. 

Kick  up  my  dust  in  the  park  (Soc. ). 
Promenade  there.  From  French  'Faire 
ma  poussiere  aux  Champs  Elysees  '. 

Kick  out  (Anglo-American).  Die 
— from  the  frequent  nervous  move- 
ment of  the  legs  as  death  approaches. 

Kicked  the  cat  (L.  Class].  Shown 
signs  of  domestic  dissatisfaction, 


Kid- Catcher 

Knock  Along 

Kid-catcher  (L.  School  Board,  1869 
on).  L.S.B.  official  who  beat  up 
school  tenants. 

Coroner:  How  did  you  escape  the 
school  board  officers  ?— Witness :  I  don't 
know  how  I  managed  to  escape  the  '  kid- 
catcher',  sir,  but  I  did  it.— People,  30th 
August  1896. 

Kill  who?  (Peoples',  1870  on). 
Satirical  protest  against  a  threat,  and 
an  assertion  of  quiet  bravery. 

Kill  with  kindness  (Peoples').  This 
phrase  is  not  generally  understood ; 
supposed  to  be  literal.  Really  means 
to  cause  shame  by  overwhelming  with 
satirical  attentions  a  person  who  has 
misbehaved  himself.  It  is  not  forgive- 
ness, but  retaliation. 

Killing  the  canary  (Bricklayers'). 
Shirking  work. 

Kilmainham  (Political,  1882). 
Compromise.  Said  of  an  arrangement 
in  which  each  of  two  parties  concedes 
something  to  the  other  in  order  that 
a  third  party  may  be  defeated.  Took 
its  rise  early  in  1882,  when  the  Con- 
servative opposition  unintentionally 
brought  about  the  Kilmainham  Treaty. 

Kin'd  (Soc.,  1884).  Satirical  pro- 
nunciation of  kind.  Result  of  Barrett's 
production  of  Hamlet  (October  1884) 
wherein  he  made  this  reading  '  A  little 
more  than  kin  and  less  than  kin'd.' 

Kingsman  of  the  rortiest  (Sporting, 
early  19  cent.).  Square,  folded  necktie 
of  high  colours. 

Kippers  (Navy).  Stokers.  Very  prob- 
ably because  they  are  so  smoke-dried, 
and  dark  of  complexion. 

Kiss-curl  (Peoples',  1854-60).  Flat 
temple  curl,  abandoned  by  middle- 
class  in  1860  or  about.  Still  seen  in 
S.E.  London,  where  it  is  patronised 
by  the  street  belles  of  that  locality. 

Kite  (American,  19  cent.).  The 

Kite,  Blow  out  the  (Com.  Lond.). 
To  have  a  full  stomach  —  suggested 
either  by  an  inflated  bladder,  or  a 
soldier's  full  '  kit '. 

Klobber  (E.  London).  Jewish  for 
best  or  state  clothes  generally. 

Kate  Vaughan  was  perhaps  a  trifle  too 
dainty,  and  I  fancy  any  Kitty  so  circum- 
stanced, on  the  sudden  return  of  master 
in  the  midst  of  unlawful  revelry,  would 
have  taken  some  pains  to  cover  up  the 
resplendent  and  unaccustomed  '  klobber ' 

—I  believe  that  is  the  aristocratic  term, 
Kate  ought  to  know,  now — donned  for 
the  occasion.—  Ref.,  17th  May  1885. 
1  And  belted  knight 
Isn't  such  a  sight 
As  Becky  Moss  in  her  klobr.' 

'  So  I  klobbered  myself  up  as  well 
as  circs  would  permit.' 

K'  mither  (Provincial).  Corruption 
of  "Come  hither" — a  woman  of  the 

Klondyke  (Peoples',  1897  on).  Mad 
— not  fit  to  be  trusted.  From  the 
craze  that  set  in  August  1897  around 
the  Klondyke  gold-bearing  district. 

Klondyke  fever  (July,  1897). 
Rush  for  gold  in  British  Columbia. 
Began  in  this  month,  increased  as  the 
year  waned. 

Klondike  gold  fever  has  'caught  on' 
in  the  City.  .  .  .— D.  T.,  31st  July  1897. 

Knapsack  descent  (Peoples'). 
Soldiers  in  a  family,  either  on  the 
father's  or  mother's  side,  and  very 
possibly  both. 

Knee-drill  (Peoples',  1882).  Hypo- 
critical praying.  Derived  from  the 
military  terms  introduced  into  prayer 
meetings  by  the  Salvation  Army. 

Knickerbocker  (N.  York).  Man  or 
woman  in  best  society  in  New  York. 
Accepted  from  opponents  and  made 
a  class  word. 

Knife  (Lowest  Lond.,  19  cent.).  A 
shrew — suggestive  of  being  '  into  you ' 
in  a  moment. 

Knife  (Theatrical,  1880  on).  Con- 
dense a  piece.  Knife  is  now  modified 
into  blue  pencil. 

Knife  and  fork  tea  (Middle  Class, 
1874).  Vulgarisation  of  high  tea  (see). 

Knights  of  the  Jemmy  (Soc., 
19  cent.).  Burglars — the  arms  of  the 
cavaliers  in  question  being  jemmies ; 
the  modern  name  for  short  crow-bars. 

Some  seasons  ago  the  place  was  over- 
run by  knights  of  the  jemmy,  who  com- 
mitted their  depredations  on  other 
people's  property  in  the  coolest  manner 
possible,  and  yet  contrived  to  evade 
capture.— Z>.  T.,  8th  August  1896. 

Knock  about  drolls.  (See  Athletic 

Knock  along  (Austral.).    To  idle. 

There  is  an  Australian  phrase,  isn't 
there,  with  reference  to  an  idle  fellow? 
they  say  &he  goes  'knocking  along'.— I 


Knock  Fairly  Silly 


am  not  aware  that  it  is  an  Australian 
phrase.  We  get  our  bad  language  from 

The  Lord  Chief  Justice:  « Knocking 
along '  is  not  an  English  phrase.  It  is 
'  knocking  about '. 

Dr  Kenealy:  Well,  it  is  'knocking 
along '.  I  Hon't  think  it  an  improvement 
on  the  English  phrase. — Tichborne  Case, 

Knock  fairly  silly  (Lower  Class] 
Almost,  if  not  quite  annihilated. 

Capt.  Thatcher  said  that  when  they 
first  came  in  touch  with  the  Boers  they 
expected  to  be  attacked,  and  they  were. 
But  they  '  knocked  the  Boers  fairly  silly ' 
and  then  made  for  Krugersdorp  at  a 
hand-gallop  all  the  way.— People,  16th 
February  1896. 

Knock  in  (Costermongers').  To 
make  money— into  the  pocket  under- 

Knock  in  (Club).  Make  one  at  a 
card  table. 

Knock  off  corners  (Music  Hall, 
1880).  Be  successful. 

Just  as  Arthur  Williams  had  com- 
menced to  'knock  corners  off'  at  the 
music  hall,  he  is  once  more  summoned 
to  the  Gaiety.  More  study  ! — Entr'acte, 
16th  April  1885. 

Knock -upable  (Soc.).  Open  to 
being  knocked  up. 

For  some  time  I  have  been  weak  and 
knock-upable.  —  G.  Eliot's  Life,  vol.  i., 
p.  440. 

Knocker  on  the  front  door 
(Peoples').  Achieve  respectibility. 

Knows  how  many  go  to  a  dozen 
(Hist.).  Sharp.  Even  to  this  day 
many  things  are  sold  thirteen  to  the 
dozen  —  especially  books  and  news- 
papers. '  Thirteen '  is  generally  called 
a  baker's  dozen  from  thirteen  loaves 
being  sold  as  a  dozen,  exactly  as 
thirteen  rolls  in  our  days  go  to  the 

Knuckle  end  (Cornwall).  The 
extreme  west  of  the  duchy — the  Land's 
End,  so  named  from  its  shape. 

Kodak  (Soc.,  1890  on).  To  sur- 
reptitiously obtain  shape-information. 
From  the  snap-shot  photographic 
camera — named  after  its  inventor. 

We  are  watching  him  (Sir  Henry 
Irving,  Richard  111.),  our  eyes  are 
riveted  on  his  face,  we  are  interested  in 
the  workings  of  his  mind,  we  are  secretly 
kodaking  every  expression,  however 
slight.— D.  T.,  21st  December  1896. 

Kollah  (Hebr.-  Yiddish).  A  bride. 
Often  spelled  calloh  (q.v.). 

Kop-gee  (Peoples',  1899).  Last 
discovery  of  the  century  for  head — 
from  the  Transvaal  kopje  or  mound. 

Kosal  Kasa  (Hebrew  —  Trade). 
Is.  6d. — the  Hebrew  words  for  '!' 
and  '  6 '. 

Kosher  (E.  Lond.,  Judaic).  Pure 
— undefiled.  Word  used  by  the  Jews 
in  reference  to  eatables,  and  especially 
alcoholic  drinks  at  certain  feasts  of  the 
year,  especially  Passover  and  Pentecost. 
The  word  is  here  written  phonetically, 
but  in  actuality  the  vowels  are  omitted 
K  SH  R,  or  rather  R  SH  K,  to  be 
very  precise.  The  antithesis  of  this 
word  is  Trifer  —  unclean,  unholy, 
written  T  R  F  R. 

Kruger  -  spoof  (Peoples',  1896). 
Lying.  From  the  promises  of  fair 
dealing  forwarded  in  January  1896, 
made  by  the  President  of  the  Transvaal 
republic,  and  not  kept. 

Kwy  (Fast  Life,  1800-40).  First 
syllable  of  '  quietus ' — death. 

Kyacting  (Navy).  Jocularity 
during  work. 

'Here,  knock  off  that  "kyacting", 
will  you?'  an  irate  P.O.  will  say  if  he 
sees  a  youngster  playing  the  fool  instead 
of  attending  to  his  work.  —  Rev.  G. 
Goodenough,  R.N. 

Kypher  (L.  Class).  To  dress  hair 
— from  the  French  '  eoiffer '. 

L.,  The  (N.  York,  1880  on).  The 
Elevated  Railway. 

We  have  in  New  York  a  rich  man  who 
is  almost  the  counterpart  of  Hetty  Green. 
I  refer  to  Mr  Russell  Sage.  He  was  once 
associated  with  Jay  Gould,  and  between 
them  they  engineered  the  '  L,'  or  Elevated 
Railroad  of  New  York,  much  to  their 
advantage,  as  most  people  imagine. — 
D.  T.,  18th  February  1897. 

L.  L.  (Dublin  Tavern).  Best 
whisky.  Initials  of  Lord  Lieutenant. 

L.  L.  (Financial,  1870  on).  Initials 
of  Limited  Liability,  and  used  satiri- 
cally to  suggest  fraud. 

La !  (Suburban  London).    Nimminy- 




pimminy  for  the  vulgar  '  lor ! '  which 
is  an  abbreviation  of  the  exclamation 

La-di-da  (Street).  Elegant  leisure, 
and  liberal  expenditure. 

Laagered  (S.  African).  Waggon- 
defence.  The  waggons  are  zig-zagged 
in  line  or  in  square,  so  that  the  head  of 
one  waggon  is  half  way  down  the  side 
of  the  next — thus  giving  an  extended 
firing  line,  while  the  length  of  the 
waggon  is  used  to  offer  its  fullest 
protection  as  compared  with  its  width. 

For  several  hours  after  we  were  - 
laagered  in  position  on  Monday  to 
receive  the  attack,  concealed  behind 
trees  and  tall  grass,  their  sharp-shooters 
kept  up  a  scathing  fire. — D.  N>,  29th 
January  1885. 

Lady     from     the     ground     up 

(American).     (See  Perfect  Lady.) 

Lady  in  the  straw  (Hist.).  'Our 
Lady  in  the  Straw' — referring  to  the 
stable  in  which  the  Redeemer  was 
born.  An  old  popular  oath. 

Lady  Jane  (Soc.,  1882).  A  stout, 
handsome,  cheery  woman. 

Lally-gagging  (American  Peoples'). 
Flirting— origin  probably  Dutch. 

You  see,  Pa  has  been  in  a  habit  lately 
of  going  to  the  store  a  good  deal  and 
lally -gagging  with  the  girl  clerks. — Bad 
Boy,  1883. 

Lamartinism  (Literary).  Goody- 
goody.  Lamartine  introduced  the 
novelty,  in  historical  writing,  of 
maintaining  that  everybody  has 
always  acted  for  the  best,  whatever 
his  action,  in  the  best  of  possible 
worlds.  Term  used  scornfully  since 
1848  in  French  literature.  Now 
sometimes  exercised  deprecatingly  at 
Oxford,  and  in  London. 

Lambeth  (Peoples',  S.  L.).  Wash. 
From  the  popular  cleansing  place  in 
S.  London  being  the  Lambeth  baths. 

Lambies  (Navy).     Mizzen-top  men. 

Lame  as  St.  Giles  Cripplegate, 
As  (Peoples'  Hist.).  Very  lame  — 
applied  to  a  badly-told  untruth.  St. 
Giles  was  the  patron  saint  of  cripples, 
as  distinct  from  St.  Martin,  who  was 
the  patron  of  all  beggars.  Cripples, 
therefore,  had  two  saintly  patrons. 
St.  Giles's,  London,  was  just  under 
London  Wall  at  its  most  northern 
point,  and  was  St.  Giles's  Without — 
that  is,  outside  the  city.  It  abutted 


on  the  great  north  gate,  and  the 
church  being  frequented  (in  Roman 
Catholic  times)  by  cripples  in  great 
numbers  —  many  of  them  being 
fraudulent  limpers  —  the  gate  came 
to  be  called  Cripplegate ;  and  this 
phrase  suggested  a  lame  excuse.  The 
great  bastion  near  the  north  gate  is 
still  represented  by  about  half  of  it. 

Land  Navy  (Cadgers').  Imitation 

Land  o'  Cakes  (Historical). 

It  was  my  firm  intention  when  I 
returned  from  my  little  Scotch  tour  to 
write  glowing  accounts  of  the  scenery 
of  'the  land  of  cakes.'— G.  R.  Sims, 
Ref.,  5th  October  1884. 

Land  o'  Scots  (Eng.  -  American, 
1884).  Heaven. 

'Lane  (Theatrical).  Classic  term — 
became  popular  for  Drury  Lane 

Langtries  (Society,  1880).  Fine 
eyes.  Mrs  Langtry,  whose  portraits 
as  a  celebrated  beauty  had  been  seen 
for  years  in  shop  windows,  suddenly 
became  popular  (1882)  by  appearing 
on  the  stage  in  England  and  America, 
where  immense  crowds  were  attracted. 

Language  (Peoples'),  Sheer  swear- 
ing. Satire  upon  violent  expressions. 

Meanwhile  a  scramble  has  been  taking 
place  between  two  omnibuses  behind  for 
the  lead  of  the  road,  illustrated  by  a  free 
use  of  what  is  called  'language.' — D.  N., 
1st  August  1890. 

Language  of  flowers  (Bow  Street 
Police  Court,  1860-83).  Ten  shillings 
— or  seven  days ;  the  favourite  sentence 
of  Mr  Flowers,  a  very  popular  and 
amiable  magistrate  at  this  court  for 
many  years. 

Lap  (Co/ee-house).     Tea. 

Lapsy  lingo  (Peoples').  Corruption 
of  lapsus  linguce. 

Lard  -  king  (Anglo  -  American). 
Typical  Cincinnati  millionaire,  whose 
fortune  is  based  upon  pig. 

Lardy  -  dardy  (Peoples',  1862). 

Large  -  heads  (Anglo  -  Amer.). 

Large-sized  scare  (Amer.).  Wild 

Lassitudinarian  (Soc.,  1894  on). 
Satirical  evolution  from  valetudinarian. 

Last  Bit  o'  Family  Plate 

Leave  yer  'Omer 

Evasive  term  for  a  constitutionally 
lazy  man. 

...  an  occupation,  by  the  way,  exactly 
suiting  a  '  lassitudinarian '  temperament. 
— D.  T.,  4th  February  1897. 

Last  bit  o'  family  plate  (Artisans'). 
Final  silver  coin. 

Last  shake  o'  the  bag  (Peoples'— 
old).  Youngest  child. 

Latch  -  key  (Irish  Constabulary, 
1881-82).  Crowbar  —  name  given  by 
the  Irish  Constabulary  to  the  crowbar, 
as  the  too  frequent  key  with  which 
they  had  to  open  house  doors  when  in 
the  process  of  eviction. 

Law  (Police).  Advantage,  start, 
privilege.  Invented  by  the  police. 

The  defendants  were  placed  in  the 
police  van  and  driven  off  under  the  very 
noses  of  their  would-be  persecutors,  who 
were  quite  unaware  that  their  prey  had 
escaped  them.  Having  given  the  van  a 
good  extent  of  'law',  the  crowd  were 
allowed  to  go  where  they  wished,  but  only 
in  time  to  find  that  they  had  been  out- 
witted.—D.  N.,  15th  September  1885. 

Law's  -  a  -  me  (Hist.  —  now  chiefly 
used  in  U.S.A.).  Lord  save  me. 

He's  full  of  the  Old  Scratch,  but  laws- 
a-me — he's  my  own  dead  sister's  boy  ! — 
Mark  Twain,  Tom  Sawyer,  p.  19. 

Lay  (lie)  on  the  face  (Peoples'). 
Dissipate  exorbitantly. 

Lea  toff  (Local  Lond.).  A  youth  of 
social  aspirations,  chiefly  in  relation  to 
Sunday  ;  one  who  displays  his  distinc- 
tion, in  a  hired  boat,  rowing  up  and 
down  the  River  Lea. 

Lead  poisoning  (W.  America). 
Active  bullets. 

Very  recently  a  gentleman  who  was  at 
once  editor  of  a  local  newspaper  and 
town  constable  found  it  necessary  to 
relinquish  the  latter  post  in  consequence 
of  a  disease  which  he  euphemistically 
termed  '  lead  -poisoning  ',  the  result  of 
being  shot  through  part  of  the  lungs  by 
a  desperado  of  the  township  under  his 
care.— D.  N.,  27th  March  1883. 

Leaden  pill  —  sometimes  Leaden 
favour  (Anglo-American).  Bullet. 

Leadenhall  market  sportsman 
(Sporting,  1870).  Landowner  who 
sells  his  game  to  Leadenhall  market 

The  true  foxhunter  loathes  the  pre- 
server of  pheasants  as  '  an  old  woman ', 
or  '  a  Leadenhall-market  sportsman ' ; 
while  the  latter  rages  at  the  wholesale 

destruction  of  his  costly  game  by  the 
fox.—  D.  N.,  llth  November  1885. 

Leaderette  (Press,  1875).  When, 
probably  borrowing  from  the  French, 
the  idea  of  lightening  journalism,  short 
pithy  'leaders'  were  introduced,  a 
technical  name  was  to  be  found  for 
them,  and  '  leaderette '  was  the  result. 

Leading  article  (Trade,  1870).  A 
term  used  to  denote  the  best  bargain 
in  the  shop — one  that  should  lead  to 
other  purchases. 

Leading  heavies  (Theat.).  Middle- 
aged  women's  serious  roles. 

I  am  an  actress.  I  was  in  Mr 
O'Connor's  company  during  his  engage- 
ment at  the  Star  Theatre,  playing  the 
'  leading  heavies '  throughout  that  en- 
gagement. I  was  to  receive  12  dollars 
a  week  and  expenses. — N.  Y.  Mercury, 
9th  June  1888. 

Leak  (Anglo-American,  1880).  To 

Leaky  (Peoples').  Talkative  when 

Learn  by  rote  (Scholastic).  Learn 
by  the  road,  route,  or  rut — that  is  to 
say,  without  intelligence,  perfunctorily. 

Learning  shover  (Com.  London, 
1869  on).  Schoolmaster — took  its  rise 
at  the  institution  of  the  London  School 

Leather  and  prunella  (Middle- Class 
— ancient).  Expresses  flimsiness.  A 
corruption  of  '  All  lather  and  prunella ' 
— the  '  lather '  being  whipped  cream, 
the  '  prunella '  probably  damson  puree 
or  plum  jelly.  Sometimes  used  to 
express  humbug. 

Then  who  shall  say  so  good  a  fellow, 
Was  only  leather  and    prunella.—  Don 


The  Foreign  Office  regards  all  the 
organised  cheerfulness  of  the  last  few 
days'  Chinese  diplomatic  blandishments 
and  promises,  edicts  and  telegrams, 
alike,  as  so  much  leather  and  prunella. 
— Z).  T.,  24th  July  1900. 

Leave  them  to  fry  in  their  own  fat 

(Plantagenet  English).  This  phrase  is 
equal  to — Give  him  rope  enough  and 
he'll  hang  himself.  The  phrase  was 
brought  into  fashion  again  by  Prince 
Bismarck,  who  (1871)  after  the  partial 
retirement  of  the  German  forces, 
applied  it  to  Parisians  and  their 

Leave    yer    'omer    (L.    Class  — 
Women's).      A     handsome,     dashing 



man.  This  is  derived,  very  satirically, 
from  'That's  the  man  I'm  goin*  to 
leave  me  'ome  for '.  Good  example  of 
street  sentiment. 

Leccers  (Oxford  'er').  Lectures — 
both  'c's'hard. 

Each  man  attends  as  cheerfully  as  he 
can  his  'leccers'. — I).  T.,  14th  August 

Left  centre  (PoliL,  1885).  Whig. 
Bestowed  by  advanced  Liberals  on 
cautious  Liberal  party. 

Thiers  used  to  say  that  France  was 
essentially  Left  Centre,  and  that  power 
would  come  to  the  party  of  the  most 
prudent.—/).  N.,  20th  October  1885. 

Left  her  purse  on  her  piano 
(Peoples',  19  cent.).  Satirical  hit  at 

Left  the  minority  (Soc. ,  1879).  No 
longer  with  the  living. 

Poor  '  Benefit  Thompson '  has  left  the 
minority.— Entr'acte,  30th  April  1885. 

Leg  (Fast  Society,  1860).     Footman 
— from  the  display  of  the  lower  limbs. 
Leg    maniac    (Stage,    1880    on). 
Eccentric,  rapid  dancer. 

Mr  Fred  Storey  holds  a  unique  position 
as  a   '  leg  maniac '  —  horrible  term  !  — 
D.  T.,  3rd  December  1896. 
Leg  up  (Peoples').     Help. 
Legit  (Theatrical).     Shortening  of 
legitimate,  in  its  turn  the  curtailing 
of  the  legitimate  drama. 

Leisure  hours  (Rhyming).   Flowers. 
Leisured   rich   (Soc.t    1885).      In- 
vented by  Mr  Gladstone. 

Lemon  squash  party  (Soc.,  1882). 
A  meeting  of  young  men,  initially  at 
Oxford,  when  nothing  was  drunk  but 
this  preparation. 

Lemoncholy  (Transposition  — 
London).  Melancholy. 

Lend  us  your  breath  to  kill  Jumbo 
(Low  London).  Protest  against  the 
odour  of  bad  breath. 

Length  of  the  foot  (Irish).  Com- 
prehend and  manipulate  the  victim. 

Does  the  enterprising  tradesman  who 
thus  shields  himself  behind  magisterial 
patronage  undertake  to  teach  the 
district  the  length  of  Mr  Bushby's  foot  ? 
— D.  N.,  18th  August  1884. 

Lengthy  (Parl.,  1875).  Used  by 
both  houses  for  'long'. 

The  fine  people  who  think  it  elegant 
to  say  '  lengthy '  when  they  mean  '  long ', 
though  they  have  not  yet  come  to  say 

'strengthy'  when  they  mean  'strong', 
are  fond  of  saying  'utilise'  when  they 
mean  use.— Z).  N.,  April  1883. 

Let,  To  (Art).  Sparsely  -  filled 

Let  'em  all  come  (Peoples',  1896). 
Cheery  defiance.  Outcome  of  the 
plucky  way  in  which  the  British,  in 
the  first  days  in  the  new  year,  accepted 
the  message  of  congratulation  by  the 
Emperor  of  Germany  to  President 
Kruger  on  the  repulse  of  the  Jameson 
raid  ;  followed  next  day  by  the  im- 
perial message  sent  by  President  of 
the  U.S.A.,  apropos  to  the  English 
boundary  dispute  with  Venezuela ; 
both  followed  by  some  defiant  com- 
ments in  the  French  press. 

Let  her  rip  (English-American,  1840 
onwards).  Let  her  go  as  she  wants. 
This  phrase  has  a  very  striking  history. 
"When  rival  river  steam-boats  were 
fully  established  on  the  Mississippi 
and  other  American  rivers,  the  rival 
captains  would  put  on  every  ounce  of 
steam  in  order  to  keep  ahead.  Too 
frequently  the  boiler  would  burst,  or 
'rip',  as  emphatically  it  would  when 
bursting.  '  Let  her  rip '  came  to  be 
a  common  expression  amongst  these 
captains  when  more  timid  passengers 
or  sensible  sub-officers  urged  him  to 
lower  the  steam  pressure. 

Let  out  (American).  Releases  — 
very  emphatic. 

'  Well,  sah,  I  wanted  to  ax  how  many 
kinds  of  religun  you  had  up  dat  way  ? ' 
'  Oh,  about  a  dozen,  I  guess.' 
'  Cracky,  golly  ! '  he  whispered,  '  but 
dat  lets  me  out !  '—Detroit  Free  Press, 

Let  out  your  back  -  band 
(American).  Be  more  familiar  and 
friendly  in  your  statement. 

I  ax  you  let  out  your  back  band  a  little 
on  that  last  statement. 

Let  through  (Peoples').  (1)  Escape  ; 
(2)  Cause  injury. 

Let  up  (Anglo-American).  Make 
an  end.  From  'letting'  or  lifting 
up  the  engine  bar  which,  down,  puts  all 
steam  on.  To  end  pressure. 

Lethal  (Press,  19  cent.).  Mortal. 
From  the  waters  of  Lethe.  Now 
applied  by  careless  writers  to  any  mode 
of  violent  death. 

It  is  always   understood   among  the 
most  distinguished  members  of  the  pro- 
fession—the higher  burglarious  circles, 


Lion  Chang 

as  they  are  called  —  that  nothing  but  the 
direst  necessity  shall  ever  make  them 
use  a  revolver  or  other  lethal  weapon.  — 
He/.,  3rd  February  1889. 

Letter  -  fencers  (London).  Post- 

Levenses  (E.  Anglican).  Lunch— 
the  meals  of  the  elevens,  whence  this 
pleonastic  plural  has  been  evolved. 

Liberal  forwards  (Political,  1898). 
Modified  Radicals—  without  fads. 

'  Liberal  forwards  '  —  as  Mr  George 
Kussell's  party  styles  itself  —  are 
notoriously  suspicious  of  the  reactionary 
designs  which  they  attribute  to  Lord 
Salisbury.—  Z>.  T.,  2nd  February  1899. 

Lick  into  shape  (Com.).  To  get 
ready.  Obviously  —  from  animals, 
especially  bears,  licking  their  young. 

It  had  not  been  thought  necessary  to 
lick  the  piece  into  shape.  The  result 
was  most  laughable  ;  the  last  act  created 
more  laughter  than  has  done  any  farce 
for  years.—  Stage,  21st  Auguat  1885. 

Lie  down  and  die  (Anglo  • 
American).  Despair. 

Lie  down  to  rest  (Amer.  -  Eng., 
Street).  Fail,  come  to  an  end,  a 
dramatic  company  which  has  collapsed. 
Often  seen,  in  the  past  tense,  in 
American  graveyards  ;  finally  it  passed 
into  a  colloquialism.  (See  Climb  the 
golden  staircase.  ) 

Henderson's  Uncle  Tom  Company  laid 
down  to  rest  at  Dunkirk,  Ohio,  on 
Tuesday.  —  N.  Y.  Mercury.  December 

Reached  England  about  1883. 

Life  and  everlasting  (Peoples', 
Hist.).  Complete,  final,  without 
appeal  —  especially  applied  to  sales. 

His  Honour  :  Why  didn't  you  jib,  and 
take  the  horse  back  then  ? 

Defendant:  I  took  it  back  the  next 
morning.  When  he  sold  it  he  said  'it 
was  for  life  and  everlasting'.  —  D.  T., 
23rd  November  1897. 

Lift  up  (N.  Eng.  Methodists').  To 

Lifter  (Stable).  Kicking  horse,  one 
which  lifts. 

Lifu  (Motor  car,  1897).  Reduction 
of  liquid  fuel  (paraffin  or  other  oil). 

Starting  punctually  to  time,  the  Lifu, 
which  takes  its  name  from  the  liquid 
fuel  (oil)  which  it  uses,  as  the  odour 
proclaims,  arrived  at  London  Bridge.  — 
D.  T.,  17th  December  1897. 


Light  -  comedy        merchant 

(Theatrical).  Comedian  pure  and 

Despite  its  title,  The  Mormon,  has  no 
connection  with  the  followers  of  Brigham 
Young,  and  the  scene  is  laid  not  at  Salt 
Lake  City,  but  at  Eamsgate;  a  very  light- 
comedy  merchant,  the  Hon.  Charles 
Nugent,  being  heavily  in  debt. — Ref.. 
13th  March  1887. 

Light  -  food  (Lower  Peoples'). 
Tobacco  for  chewing  as  a  repast — very 

Light-house  (Navy}.  Pepper-castor. 

Lightning        curtain  -  taker 

(Theatrical,  1884).  A  curtain-taker 
(q.v.),  who  does  not  wait  for  much 
applause  (which  he  may  not  receive), 
and  who  therefore  rushes  on  upon  the 
least  approbation.  (See  Take  a 
curtain,  Fake  a  curtain.) 

Lights  up  (Theat.,  circa,  1900). 
Condemnation  of  a  new  piece  on  the 
first  night  of  its  production  (see  Boo). 
Chiefly  the  decision  of  the  gallery. 

Like  to  meet  her  in  the  dark 
(L.  Class,  1884).  Plain. 

Lime-juice  (Theatrical,  1875). 
Lime  light. 

Limerick    (Peoples').       Queer    and 
coarse    rhymes,    like    'There    was    a 
young  lady  of  Lea,'  etc.     Some  say 
this     style     of     rhyme     was     called 
Limericks  because  all  the  specimens 
go  to  a  tune  to  the  original  words, 
'  Won't  you  come  up — up — up 
Won't  you  come  up  to  Limerick  ? ' 

Lincoln  &  Bennett  (Soc.,  1840  on). 
Superior  hat.  From  makers'  name. 
(See  Dorsay,  Nicholls,  Poole,  Redfern.) 

Lined  (Low  Life).  Passive  voice  of 
active  verb  to  line,  and  derived  from 
certificate  of  marriage. 

Link  and  froom  (Street,  Hebrew). 

'  Dolly ',  who  was  a  Jewess,  but  one 
who  was  link  rather  than  froom,  was 
about  forty  years  old  at  the  time  of  her 
death.—  Ref.,  3rd  February  1889. 

Linkman  ( W.  London).  General 
man-servant  about  kitchen  or  yard. 

Lion  Chang  (Fugitive  Ang.,  1896). 
Jocular  Anglicising  of  the  name  of  Li 
Hung  Chang  —  and  referring  to  his 
fleeting  popularity.  He  arrived  in  the 
beginning  of  the  month,  went  to 
America  before  the  end  of  it,  and  in 
the  meantime  was  dubbed  long  Lion 
Chang.  His  entourage  also  obtained, 

Lion  Comique 


in  several  instances,  droll  names.  Lo 
Feng  Luh  became  Loafing  Loo,  Vis- 
count Li  became  Lud  Lulliety,  and 
Seng  became  S'eng-song. 

Lion  comique  (Music  Hall,  1880). 
This  term  was  a  way  of  describing  a 
leading  comic  singer. 

Changes  of  fancy  and  taste  have 
abolished  the  '  lion  comique ',  as  he  was 
known  to  an  antecedent  generation,  and 
the  death  of  Mr  Macdermott  practically 
snaps  the  last  link.—  D.  T.,  9th  May 

Liqueur  of  four  ale  (City,  satirical). 
Precisely  as  the  common  folk  make 
fun  of  cheap  food  and  give  it  impressive 
titles  such  as  calling  sheep's  head 
broth  turtle  soup  ;  so  middle  -  class 
young  city  men  chaff  their  drinks. 
The  most  expensive  liqueur,  green 
Chartreuse  would  be  eighteenpence — 
while  four  ale  (City  sherry)  is  the 
cheapest.  Phrase  really  means,  *a 
glass  of  bitter' — beer  understood. 

Liquor  (Public  -  house  keepers'). 
Euphemism  for  the  water  used  in 
adulterating  beer. 

Listening  to  oneself  (Irish,  old). 

Little  beg  (Pub.  Sch. ).  Abbreviation 
of  little  beggar — friendly  term  applied 
by  upper  form  to  lower  form  boys. 

Little  bit  o'  keg  (L.  Class).  Keg- 
meg  meat,  that  is,  common  meat — 

Little  bit  of  sugar  for  the  bird 
(Peoples',  1897).  Premium,  unexpected 
benefit,  surprise,  acquisition. 

She  applied  for  five  Ordinary  shares  at 
£1  premium,  paying  £2,  10s.  with  her 
application,  and  on  allotment  she  paid 
up  the  balance,  £7,  10s.  in  full.  She 
held  all  the  shares  when  the  corporation 
was  wound  up,  and  received  nothing  for 
her  money. 

You  didn't  get  anything  of  Goodman's 
'little  bit  of  sugar'?  (Laughter. )— No. 
— D.  T.,  24th  December  1898. 

Little  deers  (Soc.  Anglo- American). 
Young  women — generally  associated, 
or  declaring  themselves  to  be  associated, 
with  the  stage.  New  spelling  of 
'  dears '  to  form  a  feminine  to  stags. 

Little  go  (Thieves').  First  im- 
prisonment, first  invented  by  a  fallen 
university  man. 

Little  Ireland  (1879).  The  then 
Home  Rule  brigade  in  the  House  of 

Little     more     Charley     behind 

(Theatrical).      More   lumbar  width — 
speaking  of  feminine  dress  or  costume. 

Little  season  (Society,  1880  on). 
London  season  between  6th  January 
and  Shrove  Tuesday.  The  real  season 
begins  about  15th  April  and  ends  with 

London  has  been  during  the  last  few 
years  not  only  full  of  visitors  after  Easter, 
but  has  developed  a  pre-Lenten  or  'little' 
season,  as  it  is  called.—  D.  N.,  6th  July 

Little  whack  (Drinking  men's). 
Small  quantity  of  spirits. 

You  may  choose  for  the  moment  of 
illustration  either  your  going  into  or  your 
coming  out  of  the  Carnarvon  Arms ; 
where  you  intend  to  have  or  where  you 
have  had  your  little  whack. — Besant  & 
Bice,  Golden  Butterfly,  vol.  i.,  ch.  xii. 

Live  down  (Soc.,  1870).  To  over- 
come by  strenuous  patience. 

When  it  took  six  months  to  go  from 
India  to  England  they  made  the  most  of 
a  bad  situation,  and  tried  to  live  down 
heat  and  care.  —  (Indian  Hospitality) 
Graphic,  17th  March  1883. 

Live  messages ( Telegraphers',  1870). 
Messages  in  course  of  transition. 

In  the  telegraph  department  dining 
accommodation  has  been  provided, 
because  it  is  thought  undesirable  that 
those  who  are  engaged  in  the  trans- 
mission of  telegraph  messages  should 
leave  the  premises  during  their  period 
of  duty.  With  what  are  called  'live 
messages '  fresh  in  their  minds,  there  is 
felt  to  be  an  objection  to  their  adjourn- 
ing to  neighbouring  restaurants. — D.  N., 
27th  September  1883. 

Live  on  (L.  Peoples').  Fine  girl  or 
woman.  (See  Leave  yer  'ome.) 

Live  up  to  (Esthetic,  1878-83). 
Exist  purely  up  to  a  pure  standard. 
Invented  by  Du  Maurier  (Punch). 
Phrase  used  quite  seriously  by  the 
Burne  Jones  school.  (See  Apostle  of 
culture. ) 

Living  bache  (Soc.).  Life  in 
chambers — living  like  a  bachelor. 

Living  with  mother  now  (Music 
Hall,  1881).  The  refrain  of  a  doubtful 
song,  in  which  this  answer  is  made  by 
the  young  person  to  all  the  blandish- 
ments of  her  inamorato. 

Lizards  (American).  Men  of 


Loaferies,  The 

Look  into  the  Whites 

Loaferies,  The  (E.  London). 
Whitechapel  Workhouse  —  from  the 
tenderness  shown  towards  the  inmates. 
In  1898  the  guardians  even  wished  to 
do  away  with  the  term  workhouse. 

No  very  luminous  suggestions  were 
forthcoming  as  to  a  new  title,  though 
one  of  the  guardians  thought  '  Paradise  ' 
a  fitting  change.  The  others,  however, 
seemed  to  consider  this  a  little  previous. 
Perhaps  'House  of  Repose'  or  'The 
Loaferies '  would  be  considered  appro- 
priate. Mr  Perez  remarked  that  what- 
ever the  new  name,  in  a  few  years  it 
would  be  as  \inpopular  as  the  old  one. — 
D.  T.,  10th  February  1898. 

Loan  (American).  Lend,  now 
becoming  English.  Has  been  accepted 
probably  as  a  euphemism. 

Such  a  term  as  '  I  will  loan  you  my  dog 
Schneider'  is  hardly  British.—  D.  N.. 

Loathly  (London  Chib,  October 
1897).  Offensive. 

This  savage  sacrificial  feat,  performed 
with  horrible  frequency  by  Bitchlieli  and 
his  reverend  subordinates  on  the 
'  teocalli ',  or  green  stone,  surmounting 
the  shrines  of  the  loathly  idols  that  were 
eventually  overthrown  and  destroyed  by 
Hernan  Cortes.— D.  T..  24th  December 

Lobby  (Amer. — coming  to  Eng.). 
To  corrupt  by  process.  To  attempt  to 
exercise  an  influence  on  members  of  a 
legislative  body  by  persons  not  members 
— who  attend  the  session  of  a  legislative 
body  for  the  purpose  of  influencing  the 

Lobby  through  (Amer.— passing  to 
Eng.).  Is  to  get  a  bill  accepted  by 

Loblifer  (Cornwall).  Luck -bringing 
mannikin.  Probably  a  corruption  of 
Lob-lie-by-the-fire — from  this  genius 
being  fond  of  warmth  after  his  damp 
cave  abode. 

'  Lob-Lie-by-the-Fire,'  is  a  pretty  story 
of  farm  life  and  rustic  folk,  in  which 
mysterious  agrarian  services  rendered  by 
an  unseen  benefactor  awaken  all  the  old 
country  superstitions.  —  D.  N.,  17th 
December  1885. 

Local  pot.     (See  Pot.) 

Locate  (American).     To  settle. 

Locked  up  (Street).     Arrested. 

Locust  (Soc. ).  Extravagant  person 
who  sweeps  everything  away. 

Locum  (Doctors').  Deputy— short 
for  locum  tenens.  Sometimes  Moke' 

— a  medical  man  who  performs  for 
another  who  is  ill  or  away. 

Lolliker  (Durham— old).     Tongue. 

Lollipop  dress  (Theatrical,  1884). 
Stripy  dress,  generally  red  and  white, 
suggestive  of  sticks  of  confectionery. 

London,  Best  side  towards 
(Peoples').  Making  the  best  of  every- 
thing. Good  example  of  the  national 
desire  to  battle  through  adversity. 
Derived  from  the  desire  of  all  country 
people  to  visit  London  for  themselves, 
and  make  their  fortunes,  though  its 
street  are  not  paved  with  gold. 

London  ivy  (Colloquial).  Dust — 
sometimes  used  for  fog. 

London  smoke  (Soc.,  1860).  A 
yellowish  grey  ;  became  once  a  favourite 
colour  because  it  hid  dirt. 

Long  last  (Eng.  Prov.).  Time  or 
period  spaciously  waited  for. 

At  long  last  Sir  George  White  and  his 
gallant  garrison  are  free.  Lord  Dun 
donald  rode  into  Ladysmith  on  Wednes- 
day night.— D.  T.,  2nd  March  1900. 

Long  pull  (Public  -  house).  Over- 
measure,  either  as  a  custom,  or  to 
induce  trade. 

Long  -  shore  (Maritime).  Land- 
lubber ;  coast  people  who  have  the 
misfortune  not  to  be  sailors. 

But  what  would  have  been  the  alarm 
of  those  timid  '  long-shore '  races  if  they 
could  have  imagined  the  present  dangers 
of  the  deep.— D.  N.,  6th  January  1886. 

Long  stale  drunk  (American- Eng. , 
1884).  State  of  depression  owing  to 
physical  inability  to  throw  off  the 
effects  of  intoxication. 

.  .  .  recovery  from  what  our  American 
cousins  describe  as  a  '  long  stale  drunk '. — 
Ref.,  9th  April  1885. 

Long-tailed  bear  (Peoples',  Hist.). 
One  of  the  evasions  of  saying  'you 
lie'.  From  the  fact  that  bears  have 
no  tails. 

Long  'un  (Poachers').  Pheasant- 
referring  to  the  length  of  the  tail. 
(See  Short-'un.) 

Long's  (Strand,  19  cent.).  Short's 
wine-house  opposite  Somerset  House. 

Look  into  the  whites  (Peoples') — 
'  Of  each  other's  eyes '  understood.  To 
be  about  to  fight — from  the  fact  that 
the  eyes  protrude,  or  the  lids  recede 
more  than  usual  when  a  set-to  is  about 
to  commence. 


Look  Old 

Lump  o'  Stont 

It  would  be  absolutely  impossible  for 
any  adjustment  of  the  boundary  question 
to  be  made  if  the  Russians  and  Afghans 
kept  advancing  until  they  could  look  into 
the  whites  of  each  other's  eyes. — D.  N., 
14th  March  1885. 

Look  old  (Street}.  Severe.  Very 
fine  eulogy  of  the  wisdom  of  age,  as 
compared  with  the  carelessness  of 

Look  slippery  (Naval).  Hurry  up, 
be  quick  —  from  the  association  of 
slipperiness  and  speed. 

Look  through  the  fingers  (Irish). 
To  evade ;  to  pretend  not  to  observe 
and  see. 

Looking  as  if  he  hadn't  got  his 
right  change  (London).  Appearing 
mad  or  wild. 

Looking  round  the  clock 
(American).  Getting  appearance  of 
age — parallel  between  life  and  comple- 
tion of  the  orbit  of  the  hands  of  a 

Looking  seven  ways  for  Sunday 
(Lower  Middle  London).  Squinting. 

Looks  like  a  widder  woman 
(Amer.,  1883).  Appears  old. 

Loose  bit  o'  goods  (Street,  1870 
on).  Young  woman  who  has  abandoned 
the  proprieties.  (See  Straight  bit  o' 

Loosing  a  fiver  (Peoples').  Having 
to  pay  extravagantly  for  any  pleasure 
or  purchase. 

Loosing  French  (Street).  Violent 
language  in  English. 

Lord  Blarney  (Irish,  1885). 
Aristocratic  flatterer.  First  given  to 
Lord  Carnarvon,  who  after  his  appoint- 
ment as  Lord  Lieutenant  of  Ireland 
(1885)  made  many  flattering  speeches. 
Lord  Carnarvon's  plausible  and  sooth- 
ing, or  to  adopt  the  Irish  expression 
'soothering',  speeches  appear  only  to 
have  won  for  him  the  nickname  of  Lord 
Blarney.—  D.  N.,  14th  November  1885. 

Lordy  me  (Prov.  Hist.).  Exclama- 
tion. Corruption  of  Lord  have  me ! 
One  of  the  sacred  ejaculations  of  early 
reform  days. 

Lost  a  cartful  and  found  a 
waggon  -  load  (Peoples').  Getting 

Lot's  wife's  back-bone  (Peoples'). 
To  suggest  extreme  saltness,  as  *  Salt 
as  Lot's  wife's  back-bone '. 

Lottermy  (Mid.  Counties  —  rarely 
Corruption  of  Lord  take  me  ! 

Lotties  and  Totties  (Theatrical). 
Ladies  at  large. 

If  time  and  space  permitted  I  should 
like  to  tell  you  all  about  the  Lotties  and 
the  Totties  and  the  other  out-of-work  pets 
who  pervaded  the  stalls,  and  showed  a 
liberal  proportion  of  their  backs — backs 
and  bosoms,  too — as  bare  as  they  were 
born.—  Ref.,  15th  November  1885. 

Lotus  (L.  Class,  1885.)  Rhyme  to 

Love  curls  (Society,  1880).  This 
term  came  in  when  women  began  to 
cut  their  hair  short  and  wear  it  low 
over  the  forehead. 

For  the  defence  the  respondent,  Mr 
Robert  Nathaniel  Latham,  was  called. 
He  gave  a  positive  denial  to  the  charge 
of  cruelty.  He  had  objected  to  his  wife 
wearing  what  she  called  'love  curls'.— 
Latham  v.  Latham,  Probate  and  Divorce 
Division,  9th  February  1883. 

Lovely  as  she  can  be  and  live,  As 

(American,  1882).  Superlative  praise 
of  beauty.  That  is  to  say— she  could 
only  be  more  lovely  when  raised  to  the 
condition  of  an  angel. 

Lovey  dovey  (Low  London). 
Example  of  nonsense  rhyming. 

Low  comedy  merchant  (Theat., 
1883).  Farcical  actor. 

The  success  of  Indiana  mainly  depends 
upon  the  extravagant  humours  of  the 
chief  low  -  comedy  merchant.  —  Ref., 
October  1886. 

He  won't  be  able  to  box  Mr  Fred  J. 
Stimson,  the  low  comedy  merchant,  for 
some  weeks  to  come. 

(See  'Shop'.) 

Lully  (L.  Class).     Shirt. 

Lumberer  (Soc. ).  Lying  adventurer 
— obscure. 

Mr  Gill  felt  instinctively  that  there 
was  something  wrong  with  this  man's 
appearanee ;  and  when  this  man  came, 
in  cross-examination,  to  give  an  account 
of  himself,  it  accorded  with  the  well- 
known  expression  'lumberer'.  —  Lord 
Dunlo's  Divorce,  July  1890. 

Lump  of  ice  (Rhyming}.  Advice — 
in  common  use. 

Lump  of  school  (Rhyming).     Fool. 

Lump  o'  jaw  on  (Street}.  Talk- 

Lump  o'  stone  (Thieves').  County 



Make  a  Stuffed  Bird  Laugh 

Lumpy-roar  (Low  London,  1855). 
A  grandee,  a  swell  of  the  first  water. 
Said  to  be  an  anglicization  of 
TEmpereur'  —  Napoleon  III.,  who 
became  popular  in  1885  by  his  visit 
to  England,  owing  to  the  excitement 
produced  by  the  Crimean  War,  and 
his  encouragement  of  English  trade. 


M.  D.  (Bridgeivater,  1857).  Money 
down  —  referring  to  electioneering 

McKinleyism  —  McKinleyise 
(American- JEng.,  1897).  Protection. 
From  President  Mackinley,  U.S.A., 
the  great  apostle  of  protection. 

Meanwhile  Congress  is  hearing  from 
the  people  in  no  uncertain  tones  as  to 
certain  schedules  which  Mr  Dingley 
proposes  to  'McKinleyise'.—  D.  T.,  23rd 
March  1897. 

Mating  (Peoples',  19  cent.).  Severe, 
but  regulated  thrashing  by  fists. 
Early  in  the '19th  century  Mace  was 
for  an  exceptional  time  a  leading 

Mackinaw  (American  Hunters'). 
A  very  strong  and  ingeniously-woven 
blanket,  said  to  have  been  first  made 
and  sold  by  a  Scotch  wool  -  stapler 
called  Maclnor. 

Mad  as  hops  (American). 

Made  in  Germany  (London,  1890 
on).  Bad,  valueless.  Outcome  of  the 
vast  quantity  of  inferior  goods  im- 
ported from  Germany.  Term  increased 
in  force  from  the  date  when  this  phrase 
had,  legally,  to  be  printed  on  the 

Maffickers,  Early. 

Japanese  merchants  in  New  York 
met  at  dinner  last  night  'to  celebrate 
the  Japanese  victory'.  —  Star,  10th 
February  1904. 

Several  days  after  the  first  naval 
success  of  the  Japanese. 

Mafficking:  (Street,  1900).  Street 
rowdyism.  April  1,  1900,  added  this 
word  to  the  English  language.  It  is 
quite  as  likely  to  stay  as  boycott.  On 

the  evening  of  that  day  the  news  of 
the  relief  of  Mafeking  arrived  at  about 
9  P.M. — by  eleven  o'clock  the  streets 
were  absolutely  riotous. 

Magdalen  Marm  (Southward,  19 
cent.).  A  servant  from. the  Magdalen, 
a  refuge  for  fallen  women  in  the  Black- 
friars  Road,  which  existed  there  until 
about  the  middle  of  the  century.  The 
women  who  went  out  as  servants  from 
that  place  had  been  too  often  pampered 
there,  and  gave  little  satisfaction  — 
hence  the  Surrey  side  found  this 
satirical  term. 

Mailed  fist  (Peoples',  1897).  Need- 
less threats,  boasting.  From  a  send- 
off  dinner  speech  by  the  Emperor  of 
Germany  when  sending  forth  his  only 
brother,  Henry,  to  conquer  China  with 
a  fleet  of  two  sail — all  of  which  ended 
in  leasing  a  coaling-station  by  China 
to  Germany. 

Mailing  (Anglo  -  American).  To 
post  for  the  mail. 

After  mailing,  I  returned  to  the 
Capitol,  and  rejoined  Agneni  on  the 
balcony  of  the  Senator's  hall.— D.  N., 

Maintenon  (Soc.,  Hist.).  Mistress 
who  affects  piety.  From  the  position 
and  life  of  Madame  de  Maintenon,  the 
last  favourite  of  Louis  XIV. 

Major  MacFluffer  —  or  Fluffy 
(Theatrical,  19  cent.).  Sudden  lapse 
of  memory,  and  use  of  words  to  call 
the  attention  of  the  inattentive 
prompter.  It  is  said  to  have  arisen 
from  an  actor,  in  this  strait,  yelling 
half  a  dozen  times  as  he  looked  off  on 
the  prompt  side — *  Major  MacFluffer 
— where  the  devil  is  Major  MacFluffer.' 

More  than  one  of  the  principals  were 
foggy  with  the  text,  and  were  reduced 
to  fluffing  or  to  waiting  for  '  the  word ' 
from  the  wings. — Ref..  13th  November 

Major  Methodist  (Soc.,  '80's  on). 
Extremely  precise  person.  Intensifica- 
tion of  Methodist. 

Make  a  fun  (Irish).     Exercise  fuss. 

The  villagers  make  a  fun  over  every 
sister  leaving,  but  we  don't  like  it  in  any 
instance.  Being  externs,  they  might 
express  their  gratitude  that  way,  but  we 
wish  to  avoid  it.  It  was  done  in  the  case 
of  Sister  Mary  Clare.  —  Miss  Sauriris 
1  Nunnery'  Case. 

Make     a     stuffed     bird     laugh 

(American).    Absolutely  preposterous. 


Make  All  Right 

Married  the   Widow 

Make  all  right  (Election,  19  cent.). 
Promise  to  pay  for  vote. 

Make  -  it  (London  Poor).  Corrup- 
tion of  make-weight,  the  piece  of  bread 
added  by  bakers  when  weighing  a  loaf, 
to  make  up  the  weight  —  few  loaves 
being  baked  of  the  correct  weight. 

Make  it  warm  (London,  1880). 

Mr  Firth  remarked  that  he  himself 
was  engaged  in  the  icy  latitude  of  the 
north  endeavouring,  as  some  one  had 
said,  to  make  it  warm  for  their  good 
friends  on  the  other  side,  and  to  help 
to  carry  the  flag  of  progress  once  more 
to  victory.—  D.  N.,  7th  October  1885. 

Make  leg  (Com.  Lond.).  To 
become  prosperous. 

Make  up  (Soc.  and  Peoples',  1860 
on).  To  make  love  to. 

Make  up  my  leg  (Costermongers'). 
To  make  money.  From  the  time  of 
smalls,  stockings  and  buckled  shoes, 
when  making  up  the  leg  was  a  necessary 
prelude  to  going  into  society.  (See 
Pull  up  my  boot. ) 

Making  your  coffin  (Tailors'). 
Charging  too  highly  for  an  article. 
Said  when  a  tailor  charges  a  heavy 
price  for  a  first  job,  and  so  probably 
loses  a  second. 

Male  impersonator  (Music  Hall). 
A  misnomer — for  the  performer  is  a 
female  who  personates  a  man  —  and 
sings  like  one. 

Mall  (Metal  Trades').     Credit. 

Man  of  Sedan  (Political).  Last 
nickname  given  for  Napoleon  III. — 
from  his  fall  at  that  city. 

Man-killer  (Abstainers').  Porter, 
stout,  cooper— the  black  beers. 

Manchester  school  of  nutrition 
(Soc.,  1860).  High-feeding,  emphatic- 
ally introduced  by  certain  medical  men 
of  that  city. 

Mandamus  (Legal).  Verb  invented 
from  a  writ  of  mandamus. 

The  court  was  not  dispensed  from  con- 
sidering this  part  of  the  case,  as  it  would 
have  been  if  Mr  Bradlaugh  had  been 
trying  to  '  mandamus '  the  Speaker  or  the 
Serjeant-at-Arms. — D.  N.,  28th  January 

Mange,  letty,  bevy  and  clobber. 
Italian  —  through  the  organ-grinders' 
lodging-houses.  Eating,  bed,  drink, 
clothes — this  last  word  being  Hebrew. 

Manny  (Jewish  E.  London).  Term 
of  endearment  or  admiration  prefixed 
to  Jewish  name,  as  '  Manny  Lyons '. 
Apparently  a  muscular  Hebrewism. 

Mantalini  (Mid.  Class,  1840  on). 
A  man-milliner— from  the  milliner's 
husband  inDickens's  Nicholas  Nickleby. 

A  famous  Mantalini,  one  who  will  very 
shortly  open  a  palatial  branch  establish- 
ment in  London  town,  has  draped  and 
adorned  the  feminine  form  divine  of 
handsome  Jane  Hading. — D.  T.,  2nd 
January  1897. 

From  about  1860-90  this  name  was 
superseded  by  that  of  *  Worth ',  th^ 
English  man-milliner  of  the  second 
empire,  and  afterwards  of  the  third 

Marcus  Superbus  (Theat.,  1896). 
Grandee.  This  was  the  name  given  to 
himself  by  Mr  Wilson  Barrett  in  his 
play,  The  Sign  of  the  Cross  (1896). 
Soon  after  the  success  of  this  morality, 
a  variety  piece  called  The  Gay  Parisienne 
was  produced ;  therein  Miss  Louie 
Freear  made  an  immediate  success  as 
a  burlesque  actress,  who  invented  a 
grotesque  name — Marcus  Superfluous. 

Margery  (L.  London,  19  cent.). 

Mark  time  (Mil.,  19  cent.).  Wait, 
hold  on,  be  patient,  don't  be  in  a 
hurry.  From  the  military  order  when 
soldiers  are  halted  for  a  short  time  on 
march,  or  drill,  and  which  is  done 
that  step  may  not  be  lost. 

Marking  M.  (Irish  Peoples'). 
Kapidity.  The  M.  is  the  initial  of 
the  Virgin  Mary,  still  a  very  sacred 
symbol  in  Ireland.  Usually  used  in 
describing  rapidity  of  action. 

Marksman  (Old).  Legal  term  for 
a  man  who  cannot  write,  and  who 
makes  his  mark. 

Marm  -  poosey  or  Marm  -  puss 
(Public-house,  1863).  Applied  to  a 
showily-dressed  landlady. 

Marmalade  country  (Scotland). 
Music  hall  reference  to  the  orange 
marmalade  made  in  Dundee  and  other 
Scotch  places. 

Marriage  face  (Middle  Class).  Sad 
one — because  generally  a  bride  cries 
a  good  deal,  and  so  temporarily  spoils 
her  looks. 

Married  the  widow  (French  — 
known  in  England,  19  cent. ).  Made  a 
mess  of  things.  Derived  from  a  man 


Married  to  Brown  Bess 

May  God  Blind  Me 

going  to  the  guillotine,  which  makes 
widows,  while  the  idea  of  marriage  is 
suggested  by  the  momentary  associa- 
tion with  the  guillotine,  which  is 
called  in  French  slang  '  the  widow '. 

Married  to  Brown  Bess  (Mil.,  18- 
19  cent. ).  To  serve  as  a  soldier.  Brown 
Bess  was  of  course  the  musket. 

You  can  tell  her  that  you  are  safe  and 
married  to  Brown  Bess  (that  is  to  say  en- 
listed).   Thackeray,  Barry  Linden,  ch.  v. 
Martialist    (Soe.,    1885).       Soldier 
holding  a  commission. 

The  marvel  was  '  that  the  colonel  stood 
it '.  He  was,  indeed,  a  long-suffering 
martialist.— D.  N.,  31st  December  1885. 
Marwooded  (Peoples').  Hanged. 
This  term  prevailedjwhile  Executioner 
Marwood  held  office.  He  died  in 

Mary  Ann  (L.  London,  19  cent.). 
An  effeminate  man. 

Mash,  Made  a  (Soc.,  1883). 
Effected  a  conquest — struck  somebody 
all  of  a  heap. 

Mash  that  (Com.  Land.).  Hold 
your  tongue.  Probably  from  macher 
to  chew,  or  figuratively — keep  to  your- 
self in  your  mouth. 

Mashers'  corners  (Soc.,  1882).  The 
O.P.  and  P.S.  entrances  to  the  stalls 
of  the  old  Gaiety  Theatre. 

Masonics  (Soc.,  Hist.).  Secrets — 
from  the  secret  rites  of  Freemasonry. 
Not  that  there  are  either  secrets  or 
rites  in  Freemasonry — at  all  events  in 
England — where  combined  secrets  are 
neither  wanted  nor  expected. 

Massites  (Soc.,  1897).  Members  of 
the  Anglican  Church  who  believe  in 
transubstantiation.  These  believers 
accept  the  term  gravely  ;  but  it  was 
invented  by  the  representative,  or 
Low  Church,  party. 

Masterpiece  o'  night  work  (Street). 
Admiringly  said  of  a  handsome  un- 

Match  (Soc.,  19  cent.).  Society 
classic  for  marriage  throughout  the 
reign — giving  rise  to  the  compound 
matchmaker,  a  woman  who  brings 
about  marriages. 

Mrs  Gerard  did  her  best  to  make  the 
match,  and  although  she  afterwards  con- 
ceived doubts  as  to  whether  her  sister 
really  loved  him,  she  said  nothing  to 
Lord  Durham  to  that  effect.  —  Lord 
Herschel,  Lord  Durham's  Nullity  Suit, 
March  1885. 


Materials  (Irish).  Evasive  term 
for  whisky-punch. 

Matinee  (Theatrical,  1870).  Morn- 
ing theatrical  performance.  This 
entertainment  came  from  New  York, 
and  was  speedily  adopted  not  only  in 
England,  but  in  France,  which  accepted 
the  word. 

Matin6e  dog  (Theatrical).  Sufferer 
experimented  upon.  From  vivisection 
of  canines,  or  testing  food  for  poison 
by  submitting  it  to  tykes.  Of  course 
a  figure  of  speech  in  relation  to  the 
frequent  dramatic  rubbish  which  is 
submitted  at  matinees,  as  distinct 
from  evening  performances. 

Arrangements  have  been  made  by 
Irvine  Bacon  and  Charles  Groves  to  try 
it  ere  long  on  the  matinee  dog — probably 
at  the  Haymarket.— Re/.,  3rd  February 

Matineers  (Soc.,  1885).  Frequenters 
of  matinees.  Outcome  of  the  rage 
for  matinees,  1884-85.  They  are  com- 
posed of  quite  80  per  cent,  of  ladies. 

Matineers  on  the  look  out  for  a  really 
excellent  and  varied  show  will  thank  me 
for  calling  their  attention  to  a  matin€e 
to  be  given  in  compliment  to  Mrs  Robert 

Maty  (London  Workmen's).    Mate. 
Maungo      (N.      Country,      1869). 
Shoddy.     This  word  is  said  to  come 
from  the  term  '  it  maun  go  '—that  is 
to  say  it  must  sell  from  its  cheapness. 

Maw-sang  (Northumbrian).  Blood 
— a  corrupted  oath  —  probably  mort 
saint,  holy  death. 

Mawther  (E.  Anglican).  Not  only 
mother,  but  applied  to  even  a  girl 
baby,  girl,  maid,  wife,  and  childless 

Mawwormy  (Peoples').  Fault-find- 
ing, dismally  anticipating  wretched- 
ness. From  the  character  Mawworm. 

Augustus  Harris  insisting  on  Carl  Rosa 
accepting  the  wreath  thrown  on  the  stage 
last  Saturday  night  was  a  delicious  and 
touching  spectacle.  Here  is  a  glorious 
subject  for  one  of  our  figure-painters. 
Without  being  mawwormy,  I  fail  to  see 
why  a  wreath  should  be  presented  to 
any  man  who  makes  a  business  of  giving 
opera.— Entr'acte,  6th  June  1885. 

(See  Pecksniffian.) 

May  God  blind  me  (Street).  The 
original  invocation  of  the  gutterling, 
reduced  to  '  Gaw  blin'  me '.  '  bly  me ', 
'blyme',  'bly'. 



Mayhap  (Peoples}.  Abbreviation  of 
may  happen. 

'Your  widow?  Mayhap  not.'  —  Gar- 
rick,  Abel  Drugger. 

Mean  to  do  without  'em  (Music 
Hall,  1882).  The  "em'  infers  to 
women.  The  phrase  was  first  made 
popular  by  the  singer  Arthur  Roberts. 

Mean  white  (Anglo-Indian).  A 
poor  Englishman. 

Meater  (Street).  Coward.  Said  of 
a  dog  who  only  bites  meat,  that  is  to 
say,  one  who  will  not  fight.  Thence 
applied  to  cowardly  men. 

Meddle  and  muddle  (Political, 
1879).  Came  in  during  contest 
between  Beaconsfield  and  Gladstone — 
unmasterly  policy  which  harries  and 
does  nothing. 

The  Board  is  pursuing  a  policy  of 
meddle  and  muddle,  and  is  getting  itself 
most  cordially  hated  all  round, — Ref., 
26th  April  1885. 

Meddling  duchess  (Peoples1,  1880). 
Intensification  of  duchess  (q.  v. ).  Ageing, 
pompous  woman  who  fusses  about  and 
achieves  nothing. 

Melt  (Financial).  To  discount  a 

Melton  hot  day  (Sporting  and 
Club,  1885).  Equivalent  to  melting 
hot  day.  Created  Derby  Day  (3rd 
June),  which  was  very  sultry,  and 
apropos  to  the  winner  of  the  day — 
*  Melton '. 

Several  who  came  near  me  after  the 
big  race  remarked  that  it  was  a  Melton 
hot  day,  and  seemed  to  think  they  were 
saying  something  original  and  something 
funny.—  Ref.,  7th  June  1885. 

Memugger  (Oxford).  Martyrs' 
memorial.  A  satirical  and  even  pro- 
fane application  of  '  er'. 

The  triumph  of  this  jargon  was  reached 
when  some  one  christened  the  Martyrs' 
Memorial  the  '  Martyrs'  Memugger '. — 
D.  T.,  14th  August  1899. 

Mended  (Street,  19 cent.}.  Bandaged. 

Menkind  (Soc.,  J90's).  Male 
relatives  simply. 

The  great  pull  which  Pekin  had,  over 
other  Eastern  or  over  South  American 
Legations  was  that  it  is  the  traditional 
custom  that  the  ladies  of  the  Corps 
Diplomatique,  who  can  rarely  be  pre- 
vailed upon  to  venture  so  far  from  Paris 
as  Chili  and  Peru,  accompany  their 
menkind  forth  to  the  Celestial  City.— 
D.  T.,  4th  July  1900. 

Mentisental  (Syllable  traversion— 
E.  of  London  only).  Sentimental. 

Merchant  (Theatrical,  1882).  The 
theatre  coming  to  be  called  the  '  shop ', 
actors  dubbed  themselves  '  merchants ', 
qualified  by  their  line. 

Merely  moral  man  (Soc.,  1890). 
Started  by  Ritualistic  incumbents. 
Attack  upon  men  who  are  moral  with- 
out expressed  Christian  belief. 

Mervousness  (Polit.,  1885). 
Satirical  synonym  for  nervousness 
invented  about  1876  by  the  political 
party  who  did  not  believe  in  the 
advance  of  Russia  towards  India. 

Messengers  (Country).  The  small 
dark,  rapidly-drifting  cloudlets  which 
foretell  a  storm. 

Micky.     See  Bob,  Harry  and  Dick. 

Microbe  of  sectionalism  (Soc.,  and 
Parl,  circa  1896).  Social  fad  in  the 
House  of  Commons.  As  gradually 
the  *  microbe '  was  discovered  to  be 
the  cause  of  all  disease,  or  the  effect 
of  all  tendency  to  disease,  the  phrase 
was  used  figuratively.  In  this  case  it 
is  applied  to  the  total  break  up  of  the 
Liberal  party  in  the  '90's,  by  the 
divided  feeling  upon  most  extreme 
points.  Such  as  total  abstinence, 
local  veto,  vaccination,  voluntary 
schools,  etc. 

The  abdication  by  the  Radical  party 
of  its  proper  functions  has  an  unfortunate 
tendency  to  foster  what  we  have  called 
the  microbe  of  sectionalism.  —  D.  T., 
21st  June  1890. 

Mid  vire  (Sporting,  Paris).  Midday 
wires,  giving  last  prices  in  the  coming- 
on  races.  Heard  in  London. 

Middle  cuts  (Slums').  These  are 
the  prime  cuts  of  fried  fish  at  fried 
fish  shops. 

Midge  (Devon,  old).     A  tell-tale. 

Mighty  roarer  (Yankee).  Niagara 

Mikey  (Corrupt  Rhyming).  Sick 
after  drink.  (See  Bob,  Harry  and 

Milikers  (Com.  London,  1870). 
Militia — probably  a  corruption  of  the 
true  word,  upon  the  basis  that  public- 
house  is  idiotically  called  shuvly- 

Military    (Tavern,   1885).     Porter. 
One  of  the  later  baptisms. 



Monday  Mice 

Milk-bottle  (Com.  Peoples').    Baby. 

M  ilken  ( Thieves' ,  1 8  cent. ) .  House  - 
breaker.  (See  Fielding's  Jonathan 

Million  to  a  bit  of  dirt  (Sporting, 
1860).  A  sure  bet  requiring  no  caution. 
'It's  a  million  to  a  bit  o'  dirt  the 
Plunger  pulls  it  off.'  (See  Dollars  to 
buttons  ) 

Mimodrama  (Theatrical,  1897). 
Drama  of  dumb  show,  as  distinct  from 
melodrama,  wherein  the  more  noise  the 

He  had  found  the  argument  of  this 
minodrama  in  an  artic  e  of  criticism 
written  by  Theophile  KJautier.— D.  T., 
3rd  March  1897. 

Minchin  Malacho  (Peoples',  18  cent. 
on).  Whatever  this  may  mean  it  is 
evidently  still  understood  by  the 
vulgar.  In  April  1895  the  present 
writer  heard  a  man  in  the  gallery  of 
the  Palace  of  Varieties  (London),  after 
several  scornful  phrases,  say  derisively, 
*  Oh— ah — minchin  maleego.' 

Mind  the  grease  (Peoples').  Let 
me  pass,  please. 

Mind  the  paint  (Peoples').  Said  of 
passing  girls  who  have  painted  their 
faces.  Adopted  from  the  ordinary 
phrase  used  by  house -painters  who 
flourish  this  legend  on  floor,  pavement, 
and  wall.  (See  Aristocratic  veins.) 

Mind  the  step  (Peoples').  Veiled 
or  satiric  suggestion  that  the  victim 
addressed  is  drunk. 

Mine  (Low  Life).  Husband — of  a 
kind.  Sometimes  really  applied  to  a 

Mine-jobber  (City,  1880  on).  Cheat. 
When  English  copper  mining  became 
comparatively  valueless  by  reason  of 
the  import  of  Australian  and  other  ore 
as  ballast,  all  the  rascals  on  change 
floated  mine  companies,  which  had 
not  a  chance  of  success. 

Minnie  P.  play  (Stage,  1885  on). 
Drama  in  which  a  little  maid  variety 
actress  is  the  chief  motive.  She  must 
sing,  dance,  play  tricks,  and  never 
wear  a  long  dress.  From  Miss  Minnie 
Palmer's  creations,  chiefly  in  My 
Sweetheart.  Now  obsolete. 

Misery  (Old  Eng.  and  American). 

Misery  bowl  (Tourists').  Relief- 
basin — at  sea. 


Misery  junction  (Music  Hall 
Singers').  The  angle  forming  the  south- 
west corner  of  the  York  and  Waterloo 
Roads.  So  named  from  the  daily 
meeting  here  of  music  hall  '  pros '  who 
are  out  of  engagements,  and  who  are  in 
this  neighbourhood  for  the  purpose  of 
calling  on  their  agents,  half  a  dozen  of 
whom  live  within  hail.  (See  Pro's 
Avenue. ) 

Misleading  paper  (1876  on).  Name 
given  to  Times  newspaper  when  it 
began  to  lose  its  distinctive  feature  as 
the  '  leading  paper '  in  Liberal  policy. 

Probably  the  critic  of  the  leading — I 
should  say  the  misleading — morning 
paper  did  not  see  the  show. 

Miss  (American).    To  be  unlucky. 

Mistaken  (Birmingham,  1885). 
Lie.  From  a  satirical  paragraph  by 
Mr  Chamberlain  (9th  November),  at 

Mitching  (Canadian).  Common 
term  for  playing  the  truant.  Comes 
from  Devonshire,  where  the  term  is 
still  in  use. 

Mitten  (Amer.t  Hist.).  Refusal  of 
marriage  by  a  lady.  '  She  gave  him  the 

Mixologist  (American  Saloon). 
Outcome  of  the  complicated  nature  of 
American  drinks — a  learned  mixer. 

Mo'.     (See 'Art  a  mo'.) 

Mock  litany  men  (Irish  mendi- 
cants'). Sing-song  beggars  who  utter 
plaints  or  requests  in  a  chanting 

Modernity  (Soc.t  '90's).  Obvious. 
This  word  was  invented  early  in  the 
'90's  —  first  as  a  satire,  then  as  a 
perspicacious  descriptive. 

Nothing  seems  to  be  wanting  to  the 
perfect  'modernity'  of  the  process  by 
which  Clerkenwell  is  endeavouring  to 
discover  its  most  fitting  'shepherd  of 
souls '  save  the  presence  of  a  few  book- 
makers and  a  daily  report  of  the  state 
of  the  odds  against  the  various  competing 
candidates.—  D.  T.,  16th  June  1898. 

Moll-hunters  (Street).  Men,  of  all 
ages,  who  are  always  lurking  after 

Monaker  (Cow,.  Lond.,  1870).  Title 
or  name.  From  Italian  lingo  for  name, 
Monaco  being  the  Italian  for  monk. 

Monday  mice  (L.  Sir. ,  Hist. ).  The 
processions  of  black  eyes,  in  both  sexes, 
and  in  back  streets — as  the  result  of 
the  week-end  closing  at  11  P.M.  on 

Monday  Pops 

Mother  of  the  Modern  Drama 

Sunday  nights  —  a  black  eye  getting 
this  name  from  its  ordinary  size  and 
rounded  shape  suggesting  a  huddled 
up  mouse. 

Monday  pops  (Soc. ).  Abbreviation 
of  popular  and  put  in  plural.  Refers 
to  celebrated  long-established  concerts 
at  St  James's  Hall,  London. 

We  have  been  to  a  Monday  pop  this 
week.  —  Geo.  Eliot,  Letters,  26th 
November,  1862. 

Money  bag  lord  (Soc.,  19  cent.). 
Ennobled  banker.  (See  Paint  brush 
baronet  and  Gaily  pot  baronet. ) 

Money  bugs  (Amer.  •  Eng.). 
Millionaires.  Beetles  are  called  bugs, 
or  were,  in  the  U.S.A.  The  golden 
bug  is  a  beetle  that  has  the  appear- 
ance of  a  lump  of  dead  gold. 

It  is  estimated,  I  see,  that  the  Vander- 
bilt  family  of  millionaires  control  among 
them  20,000  miles  of  American  railways, 
which  in  one  way  and  another  afford 
employment  for  three  millions  of  human 
beings.  .  .  .  The  happiness  or  the 
misery  of  three  millions  of  people  wholly 
dependent  on  the  whims  and  caprices 
of,  say,  half  a  dozen  'money  bugs'. — 
People,  20th  March  1898. 

Monkey  (Mechanics').    Clerk. 

Monkey     and     parrot     time 

(American).  Equivalent  to  cat  and 
dog  life. 

Monkey  motions  (Military}.  Ex- 
tension drill.  Used  satirically  by  the 
men  in  reference  to  the  manoeuvres  of 
this  really  droll  drill. 

Monkey  on  the  house  (Soc.). 
Expression  current  in  Cambridgeshire. 
It  means  that  the  owner  of  the  house 
has  raised  money  on  it.  The  natives 
also  say,  '  A  monkey  on  the  land ',  the 
word  'monkey'  being  exactly  equi- 
valent to  'mortgage'. 

Monkey,  To  (American  -  Eng.). 
Prance  and  carry  on  effusively  — 
especially  towards  a  pretty  girl. 

Monks.  Sickly  parrots.  They  hold 
their  heads  down  and  in. 

Monos  ( Westminster  School). 
King's  scholar  who  at  4  P.M. 
announces,  in  Latin,  the  finish  of 
the  day's  work. 

Moo  (L.  Class).     Common  woman. 

Moocheries  (Peoples',  1885).  One 
of  the  names  given  to  The  Inventions. 
(See  Muckeries. ) 

Moony  cove  (Peoples').  The  word 
is  derived  from  trie  tendency  of  persons 
suffering  from  incipient  insanity  to 
keep  the  eyes  raised  when  walking. 
Moon-struck  is  another  form  of  the 

Moorgate  -  rattler  (Clare  Market, 
1899).  Startlingly  -  dressed  passer- 
by—  a  swell  of  that  district,  or  in 
it.  Perhaps  a  corruption  of  Moorgate, 
or  possibly  Margate. 

Mops  and  brooms  (Peoples'). 
Drunk  —  probably  suggested  by  the 
hair  getting  disordered  and  like  a 
mop.  From  a  time  when  hair  was 
worn  long. 

'  Mops  and  brooms '  doubtless  express 
a  sense  of  confusion. — Daily  News. 

Moral  Cremorne  (Soc.,  1883). 
Fisheries  Exhibition,  Royal  Horti- 
cultural Gardens,  1883.  So  named 
because  there  had  been  no  illumina- 
tion fetes  since  the  closing  of  immoral 
Cremorne  Gardens. 

The  Fisheries  Exhibition  is  over.  The 
lights  of  the  moral  Cremorne  are  out. — 
Ref.,  3rd  November  1883. 

More  blue  (Devon,  old).  Exclama- 
tion. Absolute  pronunciation  of  '  mort 
bleue',  and  coming  down  probably 
from  the  Frenchified  court  of  Charles 
II.,  when  Exeter  was  a  western 
metropolis.  (See  Big  beck,  Zounds, 
Zooks,  Odd's  fish,  Please  the  pigs, 
Maw  sang.) 

More  war  (Street,  1898).  Street 
quarrel  or  wrangle,  especially  amongst 
women.  Outcome  of  the  somewhat 
discussive  warfare  carried  on  between 
U.S.A.  and  Spain  in  this  year. 
Satirical  to  some  degree. 

Mother  (Complicated  Rhyming, 
1868).  Water.  Abbreviation  of 
*  mother  and  daughter'  —  rhyming 
with  'water'. 

Mother  of  the  modern  drama 
(Theatrical).  An  actress  who  took  up 
high  matronly  ground  in  a  lecture 
delivered  (1884)  at  Birmingham.  The 
lady,  successful  early  in  life,  and 
married  to  a  rich,  prosperous  and 
devoted  husband,  spoke  veryea?  cathedra, 
and  during  her  oration  pitied  the 
strugglers,  and  announced  her  inten- 
tion of  quitting  the  stage  when  '  40 '. 
Calculating  people  arrived  at  the  con- 
clusion that  the  lady  never  therefore 
intended  to  leave  the  stage,  as  no  one 
can  be  '  40 '  twice. 
177  M 

Mother's  Help 

Muffin-  Wallopers 

Mother's  help  (Mid.  Class,  1883 
on).  Nursery  governess.  Term  in- 
vented for  the  accommodation  of 
people  who  want  a  governess,  and  do 
not  want  to  pay  for  one. 

Motor  (London  Soc.,  1896).  Fast, 
hard-living  ;  said  of  a  man  about  town. 

Motor  (Oxford,  1897).  Coach,  cram 
tutor  for  exams.  Origin  obvious. 
Simply  the  conversion  of  the  old-time 
coach  into  the  new-time  motor — with- 
out the  car. 

Motor  (Soc.,  1896).  The  motor-car, 
immediately  shortened  to  motor,  was 
first  shown  in  London  streets  on  10th 
November  1896.  Before  the  end  of 
the  year  a  score  of  phrases  were  built 
up  around  it. 

Byron  had  shown  the  true  origin  of  the 
Motor  long  before  the  gentlemen  who 
thought  they  invented  it  were  born. 
Did  he  not  say  in  his  famous  riddle : 
'Twas  whispered  in  Heaven,  'twas 
Motor'd  in  Hell.  —  D.  T.,  19th 

November  1896. 

Motter  (Street,  1896).  Name  given 
to  the  motor  carriage  on  its  very  first 
official  appearance  in  London  on  Lord 
Mayor's  Day,  1896. 

Mount  the  cart  (Peoples',  18  cent.). 
Be  hanged — from  the  then  habit  of 
carting  culprits  from  Newgate  to 
Tyburn  tree,  or  gallows  —  the  cart 
being  drawn  from  under  the  wretch 
when  the  rope  had  been  attached  to 
the  beam. 

Mourning  coach  horse  (Middle 
Class  London,  1850).  A  tall,  solemn 
woman,  dressed  in  black  and  many 
inky  feathers.  (See  Sala's  B. ) 

Mouth-pie  (Street).  Emphatic  name 
for  feminine  scolding. 

Move  the  previous  question  (Soc., 
from  Parliamentary  Life).  To  evade  ; 
to  object  to  explain. 

To  '  move  the  previous  question  '  is  in 
Parliamentary  phraseology  simply  to  say 
that  the  present  is  not  the  most  con- 
venient moment  for  discussing  any 
particular  motion.  Another  time,  it 
says — another  time,  by  all  means ;  but 
not  just  now. 

Move  the  procession  (American 
Mining).  To  incite  a  crowd  against 
some  unpopular  person. 

Mowrowsky  (Anglo  •  American). 
Interchange  of  initial  consonants  of 
two  adjacent  words,  by  accident  or 

intention,  as  bin  and  gitters  for  *  gin 
and  bitters'.  Very  common,  1840-56. 
Brought  into  fashion  by  Albert  Smith 
from  hospital  life.  Now  chiefly 
patronised  in  America. 

A  mowrowsky  is  often  a  transfer  of 
two  words,  as  in  the  Taming  of  the 
Shrew,  where  Grumio  cries,  in  pre- 
tended fright,  'The  oats  have  eaten 
the  horses'.  During  the  Donnelly 
discussion  (1888)  wherein  it  was  con- 
tended that  the  plays  of  Shakespeare 
had  been  written  by  Lord  Bacon,  an 
intended  satirical  mowrowsky  was 
invented  by  an  interchange  of  initials 
between  the  two  names,  Bakespeare 
and  Shacon. 

Muck  (Military).  Scornful  appella- 
tion bestowed  upon  all  infantry  by  all 

Muck  and  halfpenny  afters  (Middle 
Class).  Bad,  pretentious  dinner  — 
spotted  at  the  corners  with  custard 
powder  preparations,  and  half-dozens 
of  stewed  prunes,  etc.,  etc. 

Muckeries  (Youths,  1885).  Name 
given  to  the  '  Inventories'  (Inventions 
Exhibition  at  S.  Kensington)  as  the 
season  went  on,  by  the  youthful 

Mucking  ( Westminster  School). 
Idling,  hanging  round. 

Mud  island  (E.  London).  South- 
end — watering-place  on  the  mouth  of 
the  Thames,  whose  estuary  still  pro- 
duces a  deal  of  mud. 

Mud  show  (Soc.).  An  agricultural, 
or  other  out-door  show. 

Mud  -  hovel  argument  (Political, 
1879-84).  Term  given  to  Tory  argu- 
ment against  extension  of  political 
liberty  in  Ireland. 

A  great  part  of  his  speech,  however, 
consisted  only  of  what  we  may  call  the 
'  mud  -  hovel '  argument,  an  argument 
which  he  applied  to  Ireland,  and  on 
which  it  will  be  remembered  he  had 
recently  an  opportunity  of  expatiating 
in  Ireland.—  D.  N.,  4th  March  1884. 

Mud-pusher  (Street,  1870).  Cross- 
ing sweeper. 

Muff  (Soc.,  1840  on).  A  stupid, 
dilatory,  inactive,  and  generally 
amiable  young  man. 

Muffin  -  puncher  (Street).  Muffin  - 

Muffin  -  wallopers  (Middle  Class 
London,  1880).  Scandal -loving  women, 



My  Elm  is  Grown 

chiefly  spinsters,  who  meet  over  a  cup 
of  tea. 

Mug  (Theatrical).  To  show  variety 
of  comic  expression  in  the  features. 

Multa  bona  fakement  (Tavern, 
1800-35).  Very  good  trick  —  from 
the  Italian  molto  bono,  and  abstract 
noun  made  from  fake — to  manipulate 
adroitly  if  dishonestly, 

A  hand  truck  was  procured,  and 
drugged  Charley  (watchman)  and  his 
box  were  then  transferred  to  another 
locality,  so  that  when  Charley  awoke  he 
found  himself  and  box  ready  for  doing 
duty  in  another  parish.  This  trick  was 
estimated  to  be  a  multa  bona  fakement. 
— Diprose's  Clement  Danes;  Pierce  Egan, 
Life  in  London,  vol.  i.,  p.  101. 

Mumchance  (Peop.,  Hist.).  Dole- 
fully silent. 

The  man  or  woman  who  can  sit 
'mumchance',  and  with  faces  as  long 
as  a  yard  measure,  over  a  well-acted 
farce  do  not  deserve  to  be  ranked  in  the 
noble  army  of  all-embracing  playgoers. 
— Z>.  T.,  llth  March  1897. 

Mumming  booth  (Lower  Stage).  A 
wandering  marquee  in  which  short 
plays  are  produced. 

Munching  house  (City,  1850). 
Onomatope  for  Mansion  House — from 
the  lusty-feeding  going  on  there. 

The  distinguished  artists  who  repeated 
The  Masque  of  Painters  at  the  Munching 
House  the  other  day  do  not  seem  to 
have  been  quite  satisfied  with  their 
treatment.—  Ref.,  5th  July  1885. 

Mundane  (Franco-Eng.y  1890  on). 
Person  of  fashion. 

The  Comtesse  de  Maupeou,  a  mundane 
who  has  recently  risen  upon  the  musical 
horizon,  rendered  several  songs. — D.  JV., 
12th  April  1897. 

Murder  an'  Irish  (Peoples',  19  cent.). 
Exclamation  intimating  that  things 
are  at  a  climax.  Sometimes  more 
emphatically  used  as  '  murderin'  Irish '. 

Museum  headache  (Authors',  1857). 

Many  a  student  avers,  whether 
candidly  or  not,  that  it  costs  him  less 
to  buy  rare  books  than  to  hang  about 
the  Museum,  waiting  the  leisure  of  the 
attendants,  and  struggling  against  a 
'Museum  headache'. — Z>.  JV.,  llth 
December  1882. 

Mush,  gush,  and  lush  (Amer.- 
Eng.,  1884).  Mean  interested  criticism 
— critiques  paid  for  either  in  money  or 

Mushroom  (Public  -  house).  Name 
given  by  frequenters  (presumably  in 
contempt),  to  the  great  clock  to  be 
seen  in  most  taverns,  and  which  gives 
warning  as  to  closing  time. 

Music  Hall  howl  (Musicians').  The 
peculiar  mode  of  singing  in  music-halls, 
the  result  of  endeavouring  rather  to 
make  the  words  of  a  song  heard  than 
to  create  musical  effect. 

Music  Hall  public  (Soc.t  1884). 
Satirical  description  of  public  who  do 
not  care  for  high-class  compositions. 

Next  time  M.  Kiviere  organises  a 
benefit  let  him  make  up  his  mind  whether 
he  will  seek  the  suffrages  of  the  musical 
or  the  music  hall  public.  He  might  be 
happy  with  either,  but  he  will  never  get 
both  at  once.— fief.,  3rd  May  1885. 

Musk-rats  (American).  People  of 
Delaware — given  because  those  animals 
prevail  in  this  division. 

Must   know  Mrs  Kelley?    You 

(London,  1898  on).  Joking  exclama- 
tion with  no  particular  meaning, 
generally  shot  at  a  long  -  winded 
talker.  Phrase  used  for  two  years  at 
all  times  and  places  by  Dan  Leno. 

Mustard  plaster  (Peoples').  Dismal 
young  man.  Put  a  mustard  plaster  on 
his  chest.  Said  of  a  doleful  and  dismal 
pallid  young  man.  Derived  from  a 
comic  song,  in  association  with 
Colman's  mustard,  written  by  the 
celebrated  pantomime  writer,  E.  L. 
Blanchard,  and  sung  in  one  of  his 
pantomimes  at  Drury  Lane. 

Mustard  pot  (Peoples').  Carriage 
with  a  light  yellow  body.  Obvious 
outcome  of  mere  relation  of  colours. 

Mutton  shunter  (Policemen,  1883). 

My  elm  is  grown  (Peoples',  18  cent.). 
Prognostication  of  one's  own  death — 
figure  of  speech  depending  upon  the 
practical  fact  that  elm  is  used  through- 
out the  land  for  coffins. 



Natural,  All  Your 


N.—A.—D.  (Military  Hospital). 
Shamming  in  any  way.  Initials  of  No 
Appreciable  Disease. 

N.  D.  (Soc.,  19  cent.).  Initials  of 
No  Date,  used  by  librarians  in  making 
their  lists.  Applied  to  a  woman  who 
tries  to  look  young. 

N.  F.  (Artisans',  masked).  Initials 
of  No  Fool. 

N.  G.  (Peoples',  19  cent.).  Em- 
phatic initials  of  No  Go — which  in  its 
turn  implies  failure. 

N.  N.  (Soc.).  Necessary  Nuisance 
— generally  applied  to  husband. 

N.  Y.  D.  (Military  Hospital). 
Evasive  for  drunk.  Initials  of  Not 
Yet  Diagnosed  —  found  on  military 
hospital  bed-cards  as  a  direction  to 
visiting  medical  men  and  to  nurses. 
In  this  case  the  true  diagnosis  would 
lead  to  a  confinement  to  barracks. 

Nail  a  goss  ( Thieves').  To  steal  a 
hat  —  industry  gone  out  since  hats 
became  so  cheap.  The  silk  plush  hat 
which  succeeded  and  killed  the  beaver 
was  so  comparatively  light  that  it  was 
called  a  gossamer,  soon  naturally  re- 
duced to  goss. 

Nail  a  strike  (Thieves').  To  steal  a 

Nailed  up  drama  (Theat.,  1881). 
Satirical  title  found  for  the  drama 
which  depends  upon  elaborate  scenery. 
Said  first  in  relation  to  The  World, 
produced  at  Drury  Lane  about  this 

Nana,  Nanaish  (Club,  1882).  Out- 
rageous, overstepping  decency — from 
the  French  romance  Nana,  by  Zola. 

Theodora  would  be  an  unpresentable 
being  to  a  London  or  a  New  York  audi- 
ence, and  is  almost  too  '  high '  in  the 
sense  poulterers  attach  to  the  word  for 
even  a  Boulevardier  public.  In  the 
name  of  history,  Zola's  Nana  is  out- 
Nana-ed. — D.  N.  (criticism  on  Theodora), 
29th  December  1884. 

Nancy  (Low  London,  19  cent.). 
Effeminate  in  a  slight  degree.  Also 
used  in  the  U.S.A. 

Nancy  tales  (Lit. ,  1890).  Humbug, 

The  negroes  of  the  West  Indies  call  an 
old  wife's  fable  '  a  Nancy  story ',  derived 
from  Ananzi,  the  African  spider  who 
told  tales.— D.  N.,  17th  January  1891. 

Nanny  (Street  boys').  Banana.  (See 
Tommy  Rabbit, ) 

Nanty  (Italian  organ-grinders'). 
Nothing— corruption  of  niente. 

'  'E's  a  nanty  cove.' 

Nanty  narking  (Tavern,  1800  on 
to  1840).  Great  fun.  (See  Egan's 
Life  in  London.) 

Nanty  worster  (Common  London). 
Nanty  (Italian)  here  means  '  no ' ; 
worster  an  intensification  of  'worst'. 
The  phrase  means  therefore  a  'no- 
worse  '. 

Nark  the  titter  (Dangerous  Classes). 
Watch  the  woman.  '  Nark  '  is  prob- 
ably a  rhyming  word  to  '  mark '. 
Titter  is  the  very  lowest  mode  of 
describing  a  woman— one  who  has 

Nap  (London,  1855-70).  A  very 
pointed  moustache — the  two  points 
forming  a  long  line  which  'cut'  the 
face.  It  was  re-introduced  by  Napo- 
leon III.,  and  is  still  worn  by  Napo- 
leonists  in  Paris. 

Nap  or  nothing  (Club,  1868).  All 
or  naught. 

Nap  (knap)  the  regulars  (Thieves'). 
Receive  or  grab  the  customary  portion 
of  the  money  resulting  from  the  sale  of 
stolen  property. 

Narrative  (Middle  •  class).  Dog's 
tail.  A  tale  is  a  narrative — tale  = 
tail  in  pronunciation. 

Nathaniel,  Below  (Old  English). 
Even  lower  than  Hades — Nathaniel 
(like  Samuel,  or  Zamiel  in  Germany) 
and  Old  Nick,  or  Nicholas,  being 
familiar  synonyms  for  Satan. 

Throughout  my  life  I  have  always  had 
a  burning  desire  and  a  dogged  deter- 
mination to  get  below  the  surface  of 
things,  and  Eugene  Sue's  masterpiece 
took  you,  as  the  saying  is,  '  down  below 
Nathaniel',  as  regards  the  basements 
and  the  subterraneans  of  society. — G.  A. 
Sala,  D.  T.,  18th  July  1895. 

Nattermy  (Peoples').  Word  for  a 
thin  human  being.  From  anatomy. 

Natural,  All  your  (Peoples').  Ellip- 
sis of  all  your  natural  born  days. 
Natural  probably  here  meant  as  '  or- 
dinary', which  phrase  would  exclude 
your  'extraordinary'  days. 


Nautical  Triumvisetta 

Nice  Place  to  Live  Out  Of 

Nautical  triumvisetta  (Music  Hall). 
A  singing  and  dancing  nautical  scene 
by  three  persons,  of  whom  two  are 
generally  women. 

Near  and  far  (Public-house  Rhym- 
ing). The  bar. 

Neat  (Low  Peoples').  Unadulterated, 
unmixed — in  relation  to  drink  :  e.g., 

Two  o'  gin  neat  is  quite  an  improve- 
ment upon  a  similar  quantity  of  '  raw'. 

Nec  Ultra (Soc.,  17-19 cent.).  West 
side  of  Temple  Bar. 

To  the  Countess  Blushrose,  Nature 
herself  had  written  Nec  Ultra  on  the  west 
side  of  Temple  Bar.— D.  Jerrold's  The 
Story  of  a  Feather,  chap.  ix. 

Neck  oil  (E.  London).  Beer 

Ned  Skinner  (Rhyming).     Dinner. 

Neddyvaul  (Street  boys').  '  Ned  of 
all'.  Chief,  commander,  conqueror. 

Neecee  peeress  (Soc.).  An  E.  C. 
or  city  bride  of  little  or  no  family,  and 
an  immense  fortune,  both  of  which  are 
wedded  to  some  poor  lord  or  baronet. 

Needful  (Peoples',  19  cent.).  Money 
— and  one  of  the  most  urgent  terms  for 
it.  In  use  by  all  classes. 

Needle  (Tailors').  Got  the  needle, 
i.e.,  irritated,  as  when  the  needle  runs 
into  a  finger.  Has  spread  generally 
over  working  classes,  who  have  accepted 
the  graphic  nature  of  the  phrase. 

Needles  and  pins  (Peoples').  Warn- 
ing against  marriage.  The  rhyming 
runs — 

Pins  and  needles — needles  and  pins 

When  a  man  marries  his  trouble  begins. 

Common  also  to  America,  to  which 
land  it  passed  from  Devonshire,  where 
the  phrase  is  still  very  common. 

Neetrith  gen  (Backspeech).  Thirteen 
shillings.  The  first  word  is  thirteen 
spelt  back  wards— the  'th'  very  properly 
being  taken  as  one  letter.  'Gen'  is 
the  short  for  general  (a  shilling). 

Negus  (Queen  Ann's  reign).  Port 
wine  and  hot  water,  heightened  by 
grated  nutmeg.  One  of  the  name 
words — from  a  Colonel  Negus  who  in- 
vented the  beverage. 

Never  fear  (Peoples').  Don't  be 

Never  squedge  (Low.  London).  A 
poor  pulseless,  passionless  youth  —  a 


Neversweat  (Common  English,  19 
cent.).  A  graphic,  one-word  descrip- 
tion of  a  lazy,  or  even  a  slow  individual, 
used  only  towards  men  and  boys. 

New  (Britannia  training  ship). 
Fresh  arrival,  last  addition.  Used  in 
the  plural. 

New  (American).  News.  'Oh,  is 
that  the  new  ? ' 

New  cut  warrior  (S.  London,  1830). 
An  inhabitant  fighter,  in  or  near  the 
New  Cut,  a  road  made  only  in  the 
19th  century  through  the  Lambeth 
Marshes  from  Blackfriars  to  Lambeth. 

New  departure  (Soc.,  1880). 
Synonym  for  change  of  any  kind. 

We  have  often  pointed  out  that  the 
electoral  changes  which  have  just  been 
accomplished  must  produce  a  new  era — 
or,  as  the  Americans  would  call  it,  a  new 
departure — in  legislation. — D.  N.,  9th 
August  1885. 

New  pair  of  boots  (Mid.-class). 
Another  question  altogether  —  later 
shape  of  another  pair  of  shoes. 

Once  they  have  the  concession  made 
to  them,  then  it  becomes  a  '  new  pair  of 
boots '  altogether.— Entr'acte,  17th  March 

Newcastle  programme  (1894  on). 
Extreme  promises,  difficult  of  execu- 
tion. From  afepeech  of  extreme  Radical 
promise  made  by  Mr  John  Morley  at 

Next  parish  to  America  (Irish). 
Arran  Island — most  western  land  of 

Just  sixteen  miles  beyond  Barna,  and 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Bay  of  Gal  way,  is 
Arran  island,  which  the  people  here  call 
the  '  Next  Parish  to  America  '.—D.  N.t 
December  1887. 

Next  thing  to  the  judgment  day 

(wholly  American).  Absolute  social 

Nice  as  nasty  (Lower  Peoples'). 
Evasive  way  of  declaring  the  opponent 

Nice  blackberry  (American). 
Satirical  phrase,  intimating  that  the 
other  is  a  bitter  weed  or  fruit. 

Nice  joint  (Street).  Charming,  if 
over-pronounced,  young  person. 

Nice  place  to  live  out  of  (Peoples'). 
Evasive  way  of  condemning  a  locality. 

Without  corresponding  to  the  idea  of 
'  a  nice  place  to  live  out  of ',  Harrogate 

Nice  Thin  Job 

No  Rats 

is  assuredly  one  of  those  spots  which  owe 
much  to  their  surroundings. 
(See  Do  without  it. ) 
Nice    thin    job    (Peoples',    1895). 
Mean  evasion  of  a  promise.     '  Thin ' — 
to     be     seen    through,    comes    from 
America  —  and  in  England  antitheti- 
cally suggested  thick — now  very  pre- 
valent for  ill-usage  and  misbehaviour 
in  general. 

Nicholls  (Soc.t  1860  on).  Complete 
riding  habit.  From  the  splendid 
habits  made  by  Nicholls,  of  Regent 

Nickel  -  plate  (American).  An 
equivalent  to  our  German  silver — a 
swindle,  a  social  fraud. 

The  name  '  nickel  plate ',  as  applied  to 
the  New  York,  Chicago  &  St  Louis  Rail- 
way, came  into  use  in  this  way :  speak- 
ing of  the  road  by  its  initial  letters — a 
common  practice  among  railroad  men — 
N.  Y.  C.  L.  suggested  nickel,  and  from 
that  to  '  nickel  plate '  was  an  easy  transi- 
tion.— Detroit  Free  Press,  1882. 

Niggers'  duel  (Anglo-American). 
A  never-intended  encounter.  Each 
behind  a  mile-stone,  therefore  a  mile 

Night  flea  (Essex  School).  Boarder 
— in  contradistinction  from  Day-bug 

Niminy-piminy  (Soc.,  19  cent.). 
Effeminately  affected. 

Mr  Beckford  wrote  in  Leigh  Hunt's 
Story  of  Rimini : 

Nimmini  Pimmini 
The  Story  of  Rimmini. 
— D.  N.,  llth  December  1882. 
Nimshes  (American  Federal,  1860- 
65).     One  of  the  contemptuous  names 
describing  the  Secessionists.      Origin 
not  known. 

Nine  mile  nuts  (Japanese  pigeon). 
Anything  to  eat  or  drink  very  sustain- 
ing. From  the  nutritive  qualities  of 
chestnuts  — especially  in  Japan. 

Nine  tailors  make  a  man  (OldEng. ). 
Said  derisively  of  a  small  man,  whether 
tailor  or  not. 

Nines,  Up  to  the  (Common). 

90  dog  (Street).  Pug.  Referring  to 
aspect  of  tail. 

97  champion  frost  (Peoples').  First 
motor  cars.  The  expectations  raised 
on  10th  November,  1896,  by  the 
procession  of  motor  cars  from  the 

Embankment  to  Brighton,   were  dis- 
appointed by  the  immediate  results. 

No.  I.  (New  York,  1883).  When 
the  U.S.A.  were  interested,  early  in 
this  year,  as  to  whether  the  'No  I. ' 
of  the  Invincible  Brotherhood  (Fenian) 
was  or  was  not  in  America,  the  term 
No.  I.  was  often  applied  to  noisy,  or 
even  merely  evident,  Irishmen. 

No.  I.  (Political,  1883).  Mysterious. 
This  phrase  took  its  rise  early  this 
year,  consequent  upon  the  collapse  of 
'  The  Brotherhood  of  Invincibles'. 

No  better  than  they  ought  to  be 

(Peoples').     Worse  than  many. 

There  are  fireworks  on  certain  nights 
now  at  the  Crystal  Palace,  and  they  are 
about  the  most  successful  of  the  displays 
given  here  ;  though  it  may  be  said  they 
attract  very  many  persons  whom  Mrs 
Grundy  says  are  no  better  than  they 
ought  to  be.— Entr'acte,  6th  June  1885. 

No  beyond  jammer  (Street). 
Perfectly  beautiful  woman. 

No  church  (Peoples'}.  When  thegreat 
wrangle  took  place  between  the  High 
Church  party  and  the  Low  Church 
party,  this  phrase,  which  at  once  took, 
and  has  remained  popular,  was  deftly 
discovered  by  Douglas  Jerrold  to 
represent  the  religious  condition  of 
the  utterly  outcast.  The  phrase  was 
first  published  by  the  wit  in  a  page 
of  Punch. 

No      class     (Street,      1893      on). 
He  proposed  to  Sal  and  she  knew  he  was 

gone  on  her  a  bit — 
Although  I  knew  quite  well  it  couldn't 

But  when  she  said,  'I  love  him,  Bill,'  it 

fairly  knocked  me  sick, 
Cos  I  seemed  to  know  'e  wasn't  any 


'  Soldiers  !  Why,  soldiers  ain't  no 
class.'— D.  T.,  June  1897. 

No  earthly  (London,  1899).  Ab- 
breviation of  '  no  earthly  chance '. 

The  actors  who  have  not  booked  their 
seats  vid  Mr  Henry  Dana,  are  hereby 
notified  that  they  have  now  no  earthly, 
as  all  seats  have  been  allotted. — Ref., 
22nd  October  1899. 

No  grease  (Engineers').  Absence 
of  behaviour,  of  politeness. 

No  rats  (Peoples').  Scotchman. 
Evasive  reference  to  that  native,  it 
being  supposed  that  a  Scot  is  always 
associated  with  bagpipes,  and  that  no 


No  Return  Ticket 

Not  In  It 

rat  can  bear  the  neighbourhood  of  that 
musical  instrument. 

No  return  ticket  (Common,  London). 
Abbreviation  of '  He's  going  to  Han  well 
and  no  return  ticket' — said  of  a  man 
who  shows  signs  of  madness. 

Nobby  (Navy).  Anelicization  of 
the  'Niobe'. 

Nolled  (American).  Form  of  nolle 
prosequi.  Used  by  lawyers. 

Non  compos.     See  Compos,  Non. 

Non  me  (Peoples',  1820-30).  Lie. 
*  That's  a  non  me  for  one.'  Took  its 
rise  from  the  trial  of  Queen  Caroline, 
wherein  the  Italian  witnesses  observed 
'  non  mi  ricordo '  (I  do  not  remember) 
to  every  important  question  put  to 
them  in  cross-examination. 

Nonsensational  (Critical,  1897). 
Sensational  nonsense. 

With  a  piece  of  nonsensational  ex- 
travagance entitled  The  MacHaggis,  Mr 
Penley  on  Thursday  night  re-opened  his 
theatre.—  People,  28th  February  1897. 

Norfolk  Howard  (Popular).  A 
bed-bug.  Due  to  a  man  named 
Buggey  advertising  a  change  of  name 
to  this  phrase,  a  combination  of  the 
family  name  and  title  of  the  Duke  of 
Norfolk.  Produced  much  press  com- 
ment and  even  sympathy  for  all 
persons  with  objectionable  names. 
The  following  list  of  vexatious  names 
was  compiled  and  published  in  the 

Asse,  Bub,  Belly,  Boots,  Cripple, 
Cheese,  Cockles,  Dunce,  Dam,  Drink- 
milke,  Def,  Flashman,  Fatt,  Ginger, 
Goose,  Beaste,  Barehead,  Bungler, 
Bugg,  Buggey,  Bones,  Cheeke,  Clodd, 
Cod,  Demon,  Fiend,  Funck,  Frogge, 
Ghost,  Gready,  Hagg,  Humpe,  Hold- 
water,  Headach,  Jugs,  Jelly,  Idle, 
Kneebone,  Kidney,  Licie,  Lame,  Lazy, 
Leakey,  Maypole,  Mule,  Monkey, 
Milksop,  Mudd,  Honeybum,  Mayden- 
head,  Mug,  Piddle,  Paswater,  Pisse, 
Pricksmall,  Pricke,  Phisicke,  Pighead, 
Pot,  Poker,  Poopy,  Prigge,  Pigge, 
Punch,  Proverbs,  Quicklove,  Quash, 
Radish,  Rumpe,  Rawbone,  Rottengoose, 
Swette,  Shish,  Sprat,  Sheartlifte,  Stiffe, 
Squibb,  Sponge,  Stubborne,  Swine, 
Shittel,  Shave,  Shrimps,  Shirt,  Skim, 
Squalsh,  Silly,  Shoe,  Smelt,  Skull, 
Spattel,  Shadow,  Snaggs,  Spittle,  Teate, 
Taylecoate,  Villain,  Vittels,  Vile,  Whale. 

North  Castle  (Slang  of  the  im- 
pecunious, 1880).  Holloway  Jail,  in 
the  north  of  London. 

Nose  (Boating).  The  extreme  tip 
of  the  bow  of  a  boat. 

Nose  and  chin  (Rhyming).  One  of 
the  modes  of  referring  to  gin. 

Nose-bag  (Mid. -class,  19  cent.).  A 
hospitable  house. 

'These  gulls',  remarked  the  keeper 
before  referred  to,  '  come  now  in  larger 
numbers  from  year  to  year.  The  fact  is 
they  are  like  a  good  many  of  the  people 
you  see  walking  about — if  they  once  find 
out  where  there's  a  good  nose-bag  they 
take  care  to  be  near  it.'— D.  T.,  22nd 
December  1898. 

Nose-bagger  (Seaside  Soc.).  A 
day  visitor  to  the  seaside,  who  brings 
his  own  provisions,  presumably  in  a 
bag — one  who  is  of  no  monetary  value 
to  the  resort  visited.  Contemptuous 
comparison  to  the  cab-horse,  or  even 
the  shore-donkey. 

'Last  season  was  a  bad  one ;  there  were 
plenty  of  visitors,  but  nearly  all  "nose- 
baggers  " — people  who  come  for  the  day 
and  bring  their  own  provisions,'  said  a 
Southend  butcher  in  his  examination  at 
the  Chelmsford  Bankruptcy  Court.  — 
Lloyds',  24th  November  1807. 

Noser  (Covent  Garden).  Said  of 
visitors  to  the  market  who  inspect 
the  flowers  and  fruits,  sometimes  quite 
closely,  and  who  do  not  buy. 

Nosper  (Low  London  back}. 
Common  word  for  stranger.  It  is 
'  person '. 

Not  a  feather  to  fly  with  (Colloquial 
—from  Universities).  When  the  word 
'  plucked '  was  used  to  designate  failure 
to  pass  an  examination,  the  figure  of 
speech  was  carried  out  by  describing  a 
very  doleful  failure  as  being  plucked 
'  without  a  feather  to  fly  with ' — mean- 
ing that  no  success  whatever  was 
obtained.  Applied  in  many  ways. 

Not  dead  yet  (Theatrical,  1883). 
Ancient — generally  said  of  an  antique 

Not  enough  written  (Authors', 
1870).  Not  sufficiently  corrected  for 

Not  in  it  (Sporting}.  Failure— re- 
ferring to  a  horse  in  a  race  as  having 
no  chance. 

The  gentleman  who  declared  that  gold- 
mining  was  not  in  it  was  strictly  correct. 
The  gold  production  in  the  United  States 
is  worth  between  nine  and  ten  millions, 
but  the  profit  upon  it  is  nothing  like  that 
on  sugar.— D.  T.,  26th  February  1897. 

Not  on  Borrowing  Terms 

Nursery  Noodles 

Not  on  borrowing  terms  (American  , 
1882).  Not  in  friendly  relations — said 
of  next-door  neighbours. 

The  families  of  the  two  young  souls 
were  not  on  '  borrowing  terms '. — Texas 
Siftings,  1883. 

Not  the  cheese  (Peoples',  Hist.). 
Not  satisfactory.  Dr  Brewer  abso- 
lutely refers  this  word  back  to  the 
Persian  and  the  Hindoo — cheez,  thing  ; 
though  he  says  nothing  of  the  journey. 
May  be  from  the  French,  'Ce  n'est 
pas  la  chose' — chose  being  used  a  great 
deal  for  thing  in  the  sixties. 

Not  to-day,  Baker  (Peons',  1885). 
Said  at  a  youth  who  is  paying  atten- 
tions which  are  obviously  unwelcome. 
Term  used  by  housewives  refusing  bread 
when  the  morning  baker  calls.  But 
satirically  applied  in  reference  to  a 
military  man  of  this  name  who  was 
given  into  custody  for  pressing  his 
attentions  upon  a  young  lady  travelling 
by  accident  alone  with  him. 

The  gentleman  signs  himself  '  Baker ', 
and  wants  to  try  an  experiment  on  my 
family.  In  the  words  of  the  poet,  I 
reply,  'Not  to-day,  Baker  !'— Ref. ,  8th 
March  1885. 

Not  too  nice  (Soc.,  1870  on).  First 
degree  of  condemnation — equals  bad. 
Outcome  of  the  frequent  use  of  nice. 

Not  up  to  Dick  (Common  Respectable 
Life).  Not  well ;  ill  and  wretched. 

Not  worth  a  rap  (Irish,  Hist.). 
Worth  nothing.  In  the  early  years  of 
the  18th  century,  from  1721,  notwith- 
standing the  savage  Drapier  Letters, 
copper  money  was  so  rare  in  Ireland 
that  a  quantity  of  base  metal  was  in 
circulation  in  the  shape  of  small  coins. 
They  came  to  be  called  raps — probably 
the  short  of  rapparee,  a  good-for- 
nothing  fellow — hence  the  word  came 
to  be  applied  to  describe  valuelessness. 

Note  (Soc.,  1860  on).  Intellectual 
signature,  polite  war-cry. 

Culture  is  the  'note'  of  Boston. — 
D.  N.,  18th  November  1884. 

Notergal  Wash,  or  N.  Wash  (L. 
Class,  1857  on).  No  wash  at  all — 
grubbiness.  Very  interesting  if  from 
Nightingale.  Miss  Nightingale,  the 
creator  (1855-56)  of  rational  nursing, 
had  the  misfortune  to  incur  the  lower 
public  satire  for  stating  that  a  person 
could  keep  himself  clean  on  a  pint  of 
washing  water  per  day.  She  did  not 
say  he  was  preferably  to  do  this. 

Nothing   to   do    with    the    case 

(Peoples',  Hist.).  Elegant  evasion  of 
'  you  lie  ! '  Made  very  popular  by  Mr 
W.  S.  Gilbert's  The  Mikado,  wherein 
Mr  G.  Grossmith  had  a  capital  song 
which  began  : 

'  The  flowers  that  bloom  in  the  spring 
Have  nothing  to  do  with  the  case.' 

Nottub  (Back phrasing).     Button. 

Now  or  never  (Rhyming).     Clever. 

Well,  these  Tommy  Rotters  kid  the 
poor  judy  they're  very  rich,  and  if  they're 
now  and  never  they  get  carefully  carried 
(married)  to  her. — Biography  of  Cheap 
Heiress  Hunters,  1882. 

Now  we're  busy  (Peoples',  1868). 
To  suggest  action.  Also  an  evasive 
intimation  that  the  person  spoken  of 
is  no  better  for  his  liquor,  and  is  about 
to  be  destructive. 

Now  we  shan't  be  long  (Peoples', 
1895  on).  Intimation  of  finality. 
Origin  obscure.  Probably  from  rail- 
way travellers'  phrase  when  near  the 
end  of  a  journey. 

'  Now  we  shan't  be  long  ',  said  Henry 
Martin  to  Thomas  Hiom,  as  the  couple 
equipped  themselves  with  a  pair  of 
double-barrelled  catapults  and  a  copious 
supply  of  indiarubber  pellets,  and  started 
off  on  a  partridge-shooting  expedition  to 
the  Finchley  Road.— D.  T. ,  8th  Septem- 
ber 1896. 

Now  we  shall  be  shan't  (Dec. 
1896).  Another  jocular  shape  of 
'Now  we  shan't  be  long'— and  pur- 
posely having  no  meaning. 

Nudities  (Critics,  1890  on).  New 
shape  of  '  nude  studies '  or  '  nudes '. 

The  nudities,  though  of  the  usual 
class,  are  fewer  and  less  fragrant  than 
usual,  the  horrors  less  horrible,  and  what 
may  be  called  the  medical  pictures  less 
repulsive.—  D.  N.,  19th  April  1898. 

Nuf  ced  (From  America).  Con- 
traction of  '  enough  said ' — absurdly 
spelt.  Warning  to  say  no  more. 
Used  in  Liverpool  chiefly. 

Number  one  (Navy).  Strictly  naval 
for  first  lieutenant. 

Nuptiated  (Wilful  American). 

Nurse  the  hoe-handle  (Agricultural 
American).  Lazy. 

Nursery  noodles  (Literary).  Critics 
who  are  very  fastidious. 




O  (Peoples',  Hist. ).  Most  emphatic 
form  of  liking  and  satisfaction — always 
used  as  a  suffix.  "  What  0  ! " 

O  (Printers').  Emphatic,  and  abbre- 
viation of  overseer. 

9-  B.  (Criminal).  Old  Bailey,  City 
Criminal  Court. 

O.  P.  H.  (Polit.,  1886).  Old  Par- 
liamentary Hand — meaning  Gladstone. 
Invented  by  Times  (February  1886). 

O.  T.  (Street,  Satirical,  1880).  One 
way  of  observing  that  the  weather  is 

O.  V.  (Sooth).  Abbreviation  of 
oven — the  name  given  to  the  open 
•pace  below  the  stage  in  which  the 
Pepper's  ghost  illusion  is  worked. 
This  apparatus,  which  is  at  an  angle 
of  35,  and  upon  which  the  phantom- 
ised  comedians  lie,  is  surrounded  by 
lamps,  and  is  very  hot  —  hence  the 
title.  (See  Phant.) 

OVO  (Low  Class,  Hist.}  Quite 
inexplicable.  No  solution  ever  ob- 
tained from  the  initiates. 

O  Bergami,  or  O  Begga  me 
(London  Peoples',  1820).  Still  used  in 
the  streets  as  intimating  that  the 
person  addressed  is  a  liar,  or  worse. 
From  one  Ber'gami — a  lying  witness  at 
the  trial  of  Queen  Caroline — whose 
denial  of  everything  brought  about 
this  phrase,  with  his  eternal  '  non  mi 
ricordo '.  (See  Non  me.) 

O  chase  me  (Streets,  1898  on). 
Satiric  invitation,  or  pretended  satiric, 
ty  a  maiden  to  a  youth  to  run  after 
her  and  hug  and  kiss  her. 

O  Cheese  and  Crust  (Lower 
Peoples').  0,  Jesus  Christ ! 

O  cricum  jiminy  (Peoples',  Hist.). 
An  exclamation  of  pretended  fear. 

O  !  cry  !  (Peoples').  Exclamation 
of  satiric  surprise,  confounded  with 
cry,  but  probably  nothing  to  do  with 
it.  '  0  !  crickey  ! '  may  be  another 
shape  of  the  expression.  May  be  an 
evasion  of  '  0  !  Christ ! ' 

O  dear  me  1  (Peoples').  Exclamation 
of  regret.  Probably  from  the  Court  of 

Katharine  of  Arragon  (Henry  VIII.), 
or  perhaps  from  that  of  Catherine  of 
Braganza  (Charles  II.). 

'  Ay  di  mi ! '  as  the  Spaniards  say,  we 
shall  have  no  Pomard  this  year !  The 
storms  of  yesterday  and  of  Monday  have 
devastated  the  vineyards. — D.  N.,  1874. 
O  Gomorrah  to  you !  (Com.  Life). 
Play  of  a  word  upon  '  to-morrow ',  and 
said  either  savagely  or  jocularly. 

O— good  night !  (Low  English). 
Meaning,  '  This  is  too  much— I  think 
I  must  be  going.' 

O  !  la !  (European — almost  histori- 
cal). 0  !  law  !  The  influence  of  the 
Crusades  upon  European  society  was 
notoriously  immense.  Surely  some 
expressions  were  imported  ?  What 
more  likely  than  that  of  *  Allah  ! ' — 
which  is  in  the  mouth  of  every  Maho- 
medan  at  all  times,  and  always  at  the 
beginning  of  a  sentence  ?  *  Hullo  ! ' 
may  be  from  the  same  source. 

O  my  eye  (Peoples'— Old  Catholic). 
Corruption  of  '  Ah  mihi  '—the  opening 
words  of  the  prayer  to  St  Martin,  the 
patron  of  beggars.  Implies  doubt,  and 
a  suggestion  of  deceptive  utterance. 
O.  P.  H.  (Street,  19  cent.).  Off. 
O  Pollaky  1  (Peoples',  1870).  Ex- 
clamation of  protest  against  too  urgent 
enquiries.  From  an  independent,  self- 
constituted,  foreign  detective,  who 
resided  on  Paddington  Green,  and 
became  famous  for  his  mysterious  and 
varied  advertisements,  which  invari- 
ably ended  with  his  name  (accent  on 
the  second  syllable),  and  his  address. 

O  soldiers  !  (Peoples').  Exclamation 
— not  now  often  heard. 

O  Smith  !  (Peoples',  1835  -  50). 
Cavernous  laugh,  very  popular,  for 
nearly  a  score  of  years.  '  What  an 
0  Smith '  would  be  the  comment  upon 
hearing  a  grim  'Ha-ha'.  0  Smith 
always  did  the  frequent  Adelphi 
villains  of  that  day,  also  the  un- 
scrupulous villains. 

O  the  language  1  (Peoples1). 
Generally  said  to  a  drunken  woman 
using  violent  or  spluttering  English. 

O  Willie,  Willie  (Peoples',  1898). 
Term  of  satiric  reproach  addressed  to  a 
taradiddler  rather  than  a  flat  liar. 

Oak  (Rhyming).  Joke  —  very 
common.  Now  passed  into  chestnut. 

Oaky-pokeys  (Devonshire).  Cock- 



Old  Ebenezer 

Oat-stealer  (Country  Tavern). 
Ostler.  A  play  upon  the  original  word. 

Obvious  (Soc.t  1897).  Fat,  stout. 
Origin  evident. 

'Mary,  you  are  becoming  too  obvious. ' 

Obviously  severe  (Soc.,  1890  on). 
Hopelessly  rude  of  speech. 

Occifer  (Colloquial  imbecile,  19  cent. ). 

Ochorboc  (Italian  organ-grinders'). 
Beer.  The  word  is  here  found  by 
taking  the  first  letter  of  the  word 
'  bochor '  and  adding  it  to  the  end,  also 
adding  'oc'.  The  original  word  is 
'Bocca'  (mouth). 

Odd  job  man  (Trade).  Modified 
description  of  the  Shyster,  who  pro- 
fesses to  do  anything  and  only  does  his 

Odd-fellows  (Peoples').  Name  of  a 
mutual  benefit  society.  Corruption  of 

Odd's  Bobs  (Peoples').  God's  Babe 
(the  Redeemer).  May  be  found  in 
Roderick  Random. 

Od's  death.  The  Crucifixion— Hia 
death  ;  long  since  passed  into  'Sdeath. 

Od's  fish  (Peoples',  Hist.).  Scotch 
exclamation,  probably  brought  south 
by  James  I.  '  Od '  is  an  evasion  of 
'God',  while  fish  is  a  Scotticism  for 
fash,  which  in  its  turn  is  from  /ache", 
one  of  the  French  terms  brought  into 
Scotland  through  French  influence. 

Od's  my  life  (Lower  Class).  One  of 
the  religious  adiurations — '  God's  my 

Know  Lieutenant  Bowling — odd's  my 
life  !  and  that  I  do.—  Roderick  Random, 
ch.  xxiv. 

Odsbud  (Peoples').  Is  probably 
God's  Bud — and meaningthe  Redeemer, 
or  it  may  be  God's  Blood.  (See  Tom 
Jones,  bk.  xvi.,  ch.  viii.) 

Odso  (Provincial).  Now  only  heard 
in  country  places.  One  of  the  evasive 
religious  ejaculations  of  17th  century 
—  'God's  oath'. 

Young  Mirabel :  '  Odso  —  the  relics, 
madam,  from  Rome  ! ' — Farquhar,  The 

Off  chump  (Stable).  No  appetite— 
onomatope  of  the  noise  made  by  horses 
in  eating. 

Off  the  rails  (line)  (Peoples',  1840 
on).  Unsteady. 

Officers  of  the  52nds  (Irish— City  of 
Cork).  Known  generally  in  Irish 
garrison  towns.  Young  men,  chiefly 
clerks  and  shopkeepers,  who  make  a 
rigid  official  appearance  on  Sundays. 
There  are  fifty-two  Sundays  in  a  year. 

Officers'  wives  (Army,  19  cent.). 

The  bugle  sang  out  'Officers'  wives 
have  puddings  and  pies,  while  soldiers' 
wives  have  skilly',  that  is  the  soldiers' 
translation  of  the  call  to  mess. — Re/., 
10th  April  1885. 

Ofters  (Sporting,  1884).  Fre- 

We  may  almost  assume  that  the 
principle  of  heredity  has  once  again 
asserted  itself,  and  that  the  youthful 
'  of ters '  whom  I  saw  in  the  Haymarket 
the  other  night,  all  shirt  front  and  fur 
collar,  are  the  offspring  of  the  very  same 
sort  of  tpringalds  who  exploited  them- 
selves thirty  years  ago  in  the  very  self- 
same neighbourhood.  —  Ref.,  23rd 
December  1888. 

Og-rattin  (Land.  Restaurant).  Au 
gratin — anglicization. 

Ogotaspuotas  (Street,  S.  L.,  1897). 
Bosh,  nonsense.  At  once  dubbed  '  Oh, 
go  to  spue'.  Legend  upon  a  Radical 
flag  carried  on  Sunday,  7th  March  1897, 
to  Hyde  Park  and  to  a  meeting  in 
favour  of  the  Cretans. 

Old  boots,  To  fight  like.  Fight 
like  Marlborough — the  first  English 
general  to  wear  immense  jack  boots. 
William  III.  preceded  him  in  this 
display— but  the  Orange's  were  lighter 
boots.  For  several  generations  Marl- 
borough  was  the  people's  hero.  Indeed 
he  was  only  displaced  first  by  Nelson, 
and  then  by  Wellington.  The  heroes 
have  given  several  boots  to  society — 
Wellington  and  Blucher  amongst 
others.  '  My  dawg  can  fet  like  old 
boots,  and  shoon  too.' 

Old  boys  (Soc.,  1880).  Old  school- 

An  '  Old  Boy's '  Dinner.  —  An  '  Old 
Boy's'  dinner  of  Amersham  and 
Amersham  Hall  School  was  held  last 
night  at  the  Freemasons'  Tavern,  when 
about  130  were  present.— 2).  N.,  9tk 
April  1885. 

Old  Ebenezer  (American  -  Sport). 
Grizzly  and  grisly  bear.  Probably 
applied  from  its  appearance. 

The  hunter  on  the  lonely  heights  of 
the  Rocky  Mountains    is   far  too  well 

Old  Gal 

On  (a  Bit  o')  Toast 

armed  to-day  to  fear  either  a  '  mountain 
lion  ',  as  the  panther  is  locally  called,  or 
'Old  Ebenezer',  the  renowned  grizzly 
bear  himself.—  D.  N.,  2nd  February  1883. 

Old  gal  (Peoples'}.  General  term  of 
affection  describing  a  wife. 

Old  gang  ^Parliamentary,  1870- 
1900).  Ancient  Tory  party— uncom- 
promising Tories,  generally  old  men. 

Lord  Randolph  Churchill  has  probably 
not  gained  all  the  points  on  which  he  was 
disposed  to  insist.  But,  in  deference  to 
his  opinion,  there  will  no  doubt  be  a 
clearance  out  of  some  of  those  whom  the 
Fourth  Party  is  in  the  habit  of  politely 
designating  as  the  'Old  Gang'.— Mr  J. 
Chamberlain,  17th  June  1885. 

Old  geyser  (Street).     Elderly  man. 

Old  hat  (Old  English  and  new  Aus- 
tralian). Modern  anatomical  reference 
— very  cogent,  but  not  explainable. 

I  shall  conclude  this  note  with  remark- 
ing that  the  term  '  old  hat '  is  at  present 
used  by  the  vulgar  in  no  very  honourable 
sense.— Fielding,  Jonathan  Wild. 

Old  Mother  Hubbard  (Common 
English,  1880).  Fictional— said  of  a 
story  which  is  past  belief. 

Old  moustache  (Street,  1880). 
Elderly  vigorous  man  with  grey 

'  Prisoners  of  War ',  two  English 
middies,  one  of  them  with  his  arm  in 
a  sling,  on  a  bench  in  a  French  seaport. 
An  old  moustache  guards  them. — D.  N., 
9th  April  1885. 

Old  put  (Soc.,  early  19  cent. — now 
Peoples).  A  pretentious,  stupid,  aged 
gentlemanly  man.  Derived  probably 
from  a  proper  name. 

It  is  quite  credible  that  such  a  man, 
meeting  in  an  omnibus  an  elderly  gentle- 
man of  antiquated  air  and  costume, 
should  consider  it  funny  to  insult  the 
'  old  put '  by  pretending  to  be  an  inti- 
mate acquaintance,  and  accosting  him 
with  a  familiar  'How's  Maria?'  —  St 
James1  Gazette,  7th  August  1883. 

Old  Shake  (Amer.  Press,  1870). 

Old  shoes.     Rum.     (See  Old  boots. ) 

Old  Shovel-penny  ( Military).  The 
pay-master,  who  is  generally  an  an- 

Old  slop  (London,  19  cent.).  A 
corruption  of  '  saloop ',  derived  from 
the  French  '  salope  '.  Applied  to  the 
Times  newspaper  from  1840-50,  to  in- 
timate that  it  was  bowing  and  smiling 

on  all  sides,  and  trying  to  attract, 
while  having  no  will  of  its  own. 

Old  splendid  (American,  19  cent.). 
Splendid  in  the  highest. 

Old  Whiskers  (Street,  19  cent.). 
Cheeky  boys'  salute  to  a  working-man 
whose  whiskers  are  a  little  wild  and 

Old  Wigsby  (Middle  -  class). 
Crotchety,  narrow  -  minded,  elderly 
man,  who  snappishly  can  see  no  good 
in  any  modern  thing.  Same  in  French 
— equivalent  perruque. 

M.  Halevy,  whom  he  welcomed  at  the 
Academy,  is  also  no  perruque,  or  solemn 
big  wig,  and  it  may  be  said,  with  some 
emphasis,  that  he  is  no  prude — D.  N., 
February  1886. 

Olds,  middles,  and  youngs  (Pro- 
vincial). Scotch,  English,  and  Irish. 

Some  one  who  had  studied  the  idio- 
syncrasies of  the  three  chief  component 
parts  of  the  United  Kingdom,  summed 
up  his  experiences  of  them  by  comparing 
the  Scotch  to  old  people,  the  English  to 
middle-aged,  and  the  Irish  to  children. 
— D.  N.,  5th  March  1885. 

Oldster  (Slang,  Clubs,  1884).  Age- 
ing man.  Gift  from  U.S.A. 

You  mustn't  trust  the  oldsters  too 
implicitly  when  they  endeavour  to  per- 
suade you,  as  they  always  will,  that 
there  never  was  such  a  time  as  their 
time.—  Ref.,  7th  March  1886. 

Olive  oil  (Music  Hall,  1884).  Eng- 
lish pronunciation  of  Au  revoir. 

Oliver  (Compound  Rhyming).  Fist. 
As  thus  :  Oliver  Twist.  Derived  from 

Omnes  (Wine  Merchants').  Word 
for  the  mixtures  of  odds  and  ends  of 
various  wines. 

On  dig  (School).  Abbreviation  of 
'  on  his  dignity '. 

On  for  a  tatur  (Peoples').  Fas- 
cinated, enraptured.  Said  of  a  man 
talking  to  a  barmaid,  and  making  eyes 
at  her.  Evidently  from  Ute-&-Mte. 

On  his  ear  (Amer.-Eng.).  In  dis- 
grace— from  American  handy  mothers 
grabbing  their  boys'  ears  while  battling 
in  the  streets  with  other  boys. 

On  his  feet  (American).     Ruined. 
Qnice(Amer.-Eng.\    Dead.    From 
placing  body  on  ice  to  aid  in  '  faking 
it  . 

On  (a  bit  o')  toast.  'He  had  me 
on  (a  bit  o')  toast ' ;  figuratively  to 


On  the  Back  Seam 

Oner  over  the  Gash 

say  he  absorbed  or  swallowed  me  so 
readily  that  the  act  was  no  more 
trouble  to  him  than  swallowing  any- 
thing that  will  lie  on  a  fragment  of 
the  toast  in  question. 

On  the  back  seam  (Tailors'}.  An- 
other elegant  evasion.  Flat  on  the 

On  the  beer  (Peoples').     Evident. 
On  the  bias  (Dressmakers').     Ille- 
gitimate.    On  the  cross. 

On  the  deck  ( Costers'  local).  Living 
in  Seven  Dials.  (See  Deck.) 

On  the  marry  (American).  Look- 
ing out  for  a  wife  or  husband. 

On  the  nail  (Peoples').  Immediate 
payment — no  trust.  From  the  habit 
of  ancient  shop  -  keepers  having  a 
square  -  headed,  large  nail  driven 
through  the  counter.  Upon  its  head 
the  money  in  payment  was  laid. 

On  the  pig's  back  (Irish}.  In 
luck's  way.  Comes  from  Rome. 
During  the  reigns  of  the  Twelve  a 
golden  amulet  in  the  shape  of  a  pig 
was  supposed  to  bring  good  luck. 

On  the  pounce  (Irish).  Preparing 
to  spring,  verbally.  Brought  into 
sudden  fashion  by  Mr  E.  Harrington, 
H.R.,  M.P.  (13th  September  1887). 
Upon  his  being  suspended  he  observed, 
'You,  Mr  Speaker,  have  been  on  the 
pounce  for  me  since  I  rose — you  have 
been  on  the  pounce  waiting  for  me 
all  the  evening,  and  I  claim  my  right 
to  speak. 

Mr  Smith  has  the  further*  function  of 
keeping  ready — '  on  the  pounce ',  as  the 
irreverent  phrase  goes — to  clap  on  the 
closure  whenever  he  and  his  colleagues 
think  they  have  had  enough  of  a  debate. 
— D.  N.,  10th  October  1890. 

On  the  run  (Anglo  •  American). 

On  the  slate  (Loiver  Peoples'). 
Written  up  against  you  —  from  the 
credit-slate  kept  in  chandlers'  shops. 

On  the  square  (Peoples').  Totally 
honest  and  straightforward.  From 
Freemasonry,  where  the  square  is 
typical  of  everything  that  is  good. 

On  the  tapis  ( Diplomatic).  Rumour, 
equivalent  to  '  on  dit '. 

On  velvet  (Mid.  •  class  1860), 
Luxurious  success. 

Once  (Street).  Vigour,  go,  cheek — 
the  substantivizing  of  '  on '  —  most 


I  like  Shine — I  cannot  help  admiring 
the  large  amount  he  possesses  of  what  is 
vulgarly  called  'once'.  —  Rcf.,  24th 
October  1886. 

Once  a  week  man  or  Sunday 
promenader  (London,  1830-40).  Man 
in  debt.  Could  only  go  out  on  Sunday, 
because  on  that  day  no  arrests  for 
debt  could  be  made.  (See  Egan's  Eeal 
Life  in  London. ) 

Onces  (Artisans').  Wages  —  ab- 
breviation of  '  once  a  week '. 

One  and  a  peppermint  drop  (Com. 
London).  One-eyed  person. 

One  bites  (Loud.  Costers,  1870  on). 
Small,  acrid  apples  —  which,  being 
tested  with  one  bite,  are  thrown  away. 

One  consecutive  night  (Soc.  and 
Stage).  Enough. 

The  second  lecture  is  almost  invariably 
a  dismal  failure.  '  One  consecutive  night ' 
is  the  limit  of  the  funny  man's  course. — 
D.  N.,  15th  August  1890. 

One  drink  house  (Common  London, 
19  cent.).  Where  only  one  serving  is 
permitted.  If  the  customer  desire  a 
second  helping,  he  has  to  take  a  walk 
'  round  the  houses '  after  the  first. 

One  leg  trouser  (Soc. ,  1 882).  Tight, 
feminine  skirt  of  the  period. 

.  .  .  and  ladies  in  the  latest  '  one-leg- 
trouser'  fashion  from  Paris. — D.  J\T., 
18th  April  1883. 

(See  Eel-skin.) 

One  of  them  (Streets).     A  shilling. 

One  of  those  (Peoples'  1880).  An 
obscure  phrase,  coming  probably  from 
a  comic  song  entitled,  '  I  really  must 
have  one  of  those'.  No  ascertained 
meaning  above  the  class  in  which  it 
originated — but  evidently  quite  under- 
stood by  its  patrons.  Remained  in 
gutter  fashion  for  about  four  years, 
when  it  fell  from  its  high  intent. 

1.30  (Tavern).  That  is  to  say,  '  one 
hour  and  a  half — derived  from  railway 
mode  of  counting  time. 

One-eyed  city  (American).  A  poor, 
inactive  place. 

One  -  light  -  undershirt  -  and  -  no  - 
suspenders  weather  (American). 
Very  hot. 

One-two  (Peoples').  Familiar  figure 
of  speech  for  rapidity. 

Oner  over  the  gash  (Peoples'). 
A  blow  over  the  mouth. 


Ought  to  Know 

Oolfoo  (Low.  Cl-ass).     Fool. 

He'll  make  the  judy  think  that  you're 
the  biggest  oolfoo  that  ever  was  started 
on  the  blessed  earth. 

Oons  (Provincial  —  Romanesque). 
Evasion  of  '  God's  wounds '.  Once 
pronounced  'ouns'.  (See  'Tare  an' 
ouns  ',  '  Hounds '). 

'  No — hang  it.  'Twill  never  do — oons.' 
— Farquhar,  The  Inconstant. 

Op  (Soc.,  1870).     Opera. 

Open-airs  (Salvationist).  Meetings 
beyond  roofs. 

We  have  had  some  blessed  heart-re- 
joicing times.  Last  week  three  sinners 
wept  their  way  to  Calvary,  and  enlisted 
to  fight  under  the  blood-stained  banner. 
Our  open-airs  are  glorious. —  War  Cry, 

Open  door  (Polit.,  1898).  Colonial 
free  trade.  Heard  long  before  this 
year,  but  took  form  in  the  autumn  of 
this,  due  to  the  discord  in  China— 
when  England  urged  that  Chinese 
commerce  should  be  equally  free  to 
all  nations— hence  the  term,  which  at 
once  passed  over  Europe. 

Open  eye  (Trade,  1899).  Correla- 
tive and  completion  of  open  door — 
meaning  that  though  the  foreigner  may 
trade  with  the  whole  empire,  a  sharp 
eye  must  be  kept  on  him.  Invention 
of  Mr  Stuart  Wortley  (at  Stoke-upon- 
Trent,  December  1899),  who  said  in  a 
dinner-speech  :  '  For  our  commercial 
prosperity  we  needed  the  open  eye  as 
well  as  the  open  door.' 

Open  to  (L.  London).  To  tell— 

I  knew  then  that  Selby  had  got  a  bit 
more  (money)  than  he  opened  to  (told) 
me.— People,  6th  January  1895. 

Opera  (Amer.,  1880).  Perversion 
of  'uproar'. 

Operation  (Tailors').  Patch,  especi- 
ally in  relation  to  the  rear  of  trousers. 

Opportunism  (Polit.,  1860  on). 
Shaping  ways  to  most  available  means. 
Used  rather  in  contempt,  as  subserving 
conscience  to  convenience,  or  to  per- 
sonal advantage. 

Opt  (American— passing  to  England, 
1882).  Abbreviation  of  verb  '  optate '. 

Food  and  treatment  are  much  better 
at  lunatic  asylums  than  at  gaols,  or  in 
casual  wards;  therefore  Mr  Wickham 
'opts'  for  lunatic  asylums.  —  D.  N., 
February  1882. 

Order  (Theat.).    Free  pass. 

Order  dead-head  (Theat.,  1880). 
Patron  of  the  theatre— the  dead-head 
—who  passes  on  with  an  order.  '  Dead- 
head' (q.v.)  comes  from  America,  and 
is  there  unqualified  by  the  word  '  order' 

On  Monday  the  house  was  quite  full  of 
what  looked  like  money,  leavened  by  a 
faint  sprinkling  of  the  order  dead-head. 
—Ref.,  17th  April  1885. 

Order  of  the  Boot  (M.  Class).  A 
species  of  violent  assault.  The  order 
of  knighthood  is  bestowed  by  a  tap 
with  a  sword  on  the  shoulder.  The 
Order  of  the  Boot  is  conferred  by  the 
toe  of  the  boot — farther  down. 

Orf  chump  (Peoples').  No  appetite. 
'  Orf  is  a  variation  of  '  off'.  Derived 
from  stablemen's  tongues  in  reference 
to  their  horses — '  I'm  orf  chump  alto- 

Orf  his  chump  (Peoples').  Mad, 
cranky.  It  has  nothing  to  do  with 
'  orf  chump '.  Means  '  off  his  head ' 
— his  brain  not  in  order. 

Ornary  (American).  Expression 
for  contemptible.  Corruption  of  '  or- 
dinary '. 

But  I  was  roused  by  a  fiendish  laugh 
That  might  have  raised  the  dead — 
Them  ornary  sneaks  had  sot  the  clocks 
A  half  an  hour  ahead  ! 

Ornin'  (L.  Class).  Boasting,  praising 
oneself.  Probably  from  the  bombastic 
self-assertion  of  the  hunter's  horn. 
Chiefly  provincial. 

Otamies  (Lower  Peoples').  Surgical 
operations  of  all  kinds.  Probable  cor- 
ruption of  anatomies. 

And  now,  poor  man,  he  is  among  the 
otamies,  at  Surgeons'  Hall. — Gay,  Beg- 
gars' Opera. 

Other  arrangements  (Theatrical). 
Defeat— retreat. 

Wherefore  Hartt,  though  still  by  no 
means  bowed  down  by  weight  of  woe  or 
otherwise,  thinks  it  now  time  to  make 
other  arrangements. — Ref.,  5th  July 

Other  side  (Anglo-American).  In 
U.S.A.  it  is  G.  Britain.  In  G.  B.  it 
is  U.S.A. 

Ouah  (Erotic,  Peoples',  1882).  Ex- 
clamation of  delight. 

Ought  to  know  (Soc. ).     Expression 
of  belief  in  capability  of  person  spoken 



Out  (Peoples').  Loss.  Sometimes 
used  in  the  plural. 

Out  (Soc.  and  Peoples',  19  cent.). 

Nor  is  Russian  statesmanship  our  only 
trouble  at  the  present  moment.  Prince 
Bismarck  is  or  has  been  '  out  with  us ', 
as  the  children  say. — D.  N.,  6th  March 

Out  of  commission  (Clerks').  Re- 
quiring an  appointment. 

Out  of  the  cupboard  (Peoples', 
Soys').  Turn  out  in  the  world. 

Out  of  mess  (Military,  Hist.). 
Dead — he  eats  no  more. 

In  the  Eastern  Soudan,  in  1884,  at  El 
Teb,  many  of  our  men  were  wounded — 
indeed,  I  believe,  some  killed — by  the 
wounded,  wily  enemy  ;  and  it  became 
necessary,  as  we  searched  the  field  for 
our  own  dead  and  wounded,  to  put  some 
of  these  treacherous  foes  out  of  rness  ; 
but  there  was  no  unnecessary  butchery. 
— D.  T.,  7th  January  1899. 

Out  of  sorts  (Printers').  Literally, 
out  of  sorts  of  types  —  some  of  the 
composing  compartments  empty.  This 
term  is  quite  obsolete — now  that  com- 
posing machines  are  universal. 

Out  of  the  tail  of  the  eye  (Irish). 
Furtive  observation. 

Out  of  the  whole  cloth  (Amer.). 
Untruth  in  the  deepest  degree.  Equi- 
valent to  '  Whole  hog '  (q.v.}. 

Out  of  the  wood  (American).  Out 
of  the  difficulty.  Derived  from  pioneers 
and  others  in  the  West. 

Outs  (Polit.,  19  cent.).  The  Oppo- 

While  the  Outs  look  upon  this  dis- 
covery as  a  tremendous  blow  to  the  Ins, 
while  Tory  newspapers  insist  that  all  this 
is  the  outcome  of  Liberal  concessions, 
there  is  little  or  no  chance  of  our  getting 
the  remedy  that  is  so  necessary.—  Ref., 
25th  February  1883. 

Outs  (Anglo- Amer. ).  Out  of  friend- 
ship. Probably  old  provincial  English. 

It  is  currently  believed  that  Mrs  Willie 
K.  Vanderbilt,  nee  Alva  Smith,  and  the 
Baroness  Fontenilliat,  nee  Mimi  Smith, 
are  decidedly  and  emphatically  on  the 
outs. — New  York  Mercury,  1892. 

Outside  Eliza  (Low.  London). 
Drunk  again,  Eliza.  Applied  to  in- 
toxicated, reeling  women.  Derived 
from  a  police  case  where  a  barman 
stated  that  he  said  to  the  prisoner 
over  and  over  again,  '  Outside,  Eliza ' 

— but  she  would  not  go,  and  finally 
smashed  a  plate-glass  window. 

Outward  man  (Devon).  A  guzzler, 
one  who  does  not  stop  at  home. 

Ovate  (American  -  English,  90's). 
Verb  derived  from  ovation. 

An  acute  stage  of  the  troubles  in  China 
seems  to  have  been  thoughtlessly  ended 
by  the  Allies  without  their  Commander- 
in-Chief,  who  was  really  very  busy  being 
received  and  ovated.  —  N.  Y.  Times, 
August  1900. 

Over  the  bender  (Old  English). 
Implying  that  the  statement  made  is 
untrue,  e.g.,  '  You'll  pay  me  cock  sure 
on  Monday  ? '  '  Yes— over  the  bender.' 
The  bender  is  the  elbow.  It  is 
historical  in  common  English  life  that 
a  declaration  made  over  the  elbow 
as  distinct  from  not  over  it,  need  not 
be  held  sacred.  Probably  from  early 
Christian  if  not  from  Pagan  times. 
The  bender  is  always  the  left  elbow, 
and  may  therefore  have  something  to 
do  with  'over'  the  left. 

Over  the  lefter  (Poachers').  A 
partridge  before  1st  September,  or  a 
pheasant  before  1st  October. 

Over  the  stile  (Rhyming).  Com- 
mitted for  trial. 

Over-eye  (Peoples',  old).    To  watch. 

Owl,  Biled  (Eng.-Amer.,  1880  on). 
Bad  complexion — signs  facial  of  dis- 
But  Christmas  scooped  the  sheriff, 

The  egg-nogs  gathered  him  in ; 
And  Shelby's  boy,  Leviticus, 

Was,  New  Year's,  tight  as  sin  ; 
And  along  in  March  the  Golyers 

Got  so  drunk  that  a  fresh-biled  owl 
Would  'a'  looked  'longside  o'  them  two 
young  men, 

Like  a  sober  temperance  fowl. 

—Col.  Hay,  U.S.A.,  Ambassador 
to  Eng.,  1897. 

Oyster  months  (Peoples',  Hist.). 
All  the  months  (8)  in  which  there 
is  an  '  R ' — oysters  being  quite  '  out ' 
in  May,  June,  July,  August. 

Oysterics  (Mid. -class,  1900-04  on). 
A  coined  word,  suggesting  hysterics, 
to  satirize  the  panic  in  reference  to 
oysters  creating  typhoid  fever. 

Once  again  the  public  is  thrown  into  a 
state  of  what  is  grimly  known  in  the 
trade  as  '  oysterics ',  owing  to  reports  of 
deaths  at  Portsmouth  from  infected 
oysters.  It  is  two  years  since  the  great 
oyster  scare  followed  on  the  deaths 
following  the  mayoral  banquet  at  Win- 
chester.— D.  T.,  llth  November  1904. 


P.  0. 

Paint  tlie  Town  Red 

P.  C.  (Soc.,  1880).  Initials  of 'poor 

P.  P.  and  C.  C.  (Irish).  Parish 
priest ;  Catholic  curate. 

P.  P.  C.  (Middle-class).  Snappish 
good-bye.  Of  course  from  departure 
card,  Pour  prendre  conge". 

P.  P.  C.  (Soc.,  19  cent.